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Contactless payments have become the “new normal”

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Two-thirds (66%) of all Mastercard transactions in the UK are now contactless, with 76% of Brits saying they will continue using contactless payments after the coronavirus crisis has passed.

The pandemic has accelerated the switch to contactless payments, according to Mastercard.

Contactless adoption was already high in the UK before the pandemic began, and the payments company has found that 66% of all card transactions in the UK are now contactless. It predicts that this change in consumer behaviour will stand the test of time.

Mastercard worked with the industry to enable the limit for contactless payments to increase from £30 to £45 on 1 April.

Mastercard research found nearly half (45%) of people in the UK say their use of cash has decreased throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with one in five (22%) no longer using cash at all. A significant majority (83%) agree that contactless payments are a cleaner way to pay.

Four in 10 (43%) people in the UK have used contactless payments more often since Covid-19, while one in 10 (9%) have started to use contactless for the first time.

Marcia Clay, senior vice president at Mastercard, says: “The shift to contactless has been accelerating over the past few years in the UK and it is clear that this rate of adoption has increased in recent months as a result of the pandemic and recent raise in the contactless limit. Our technology has always been there to help navigate the change in consumer behaviours and ensure money is kept safe so everyone can have peace of mind about the way they pay.”

Three quarters (76%) of Brits say they are very likely to continue using contactless payments after the pandemic ends, with 66% saying contactless payments are now their preferred way to pay when making purchases in-store.

A further one in five (21%) say they have changed which cards they use most frequently specifically to use contactless payments.

The most popular way of paying using contactless technology in the UK is with a debit or credit card (90%), followed by mobile phone (21%) and contactless enabled device such as a Garmin or Fitbit (3%).

Grocery stores are the top destination for contactless usage (93%) along with other retail stores (37%) and pharmacies (29%).