Contactless drives 10% rise in card payments

Contactless card on the London Underground Image copyright PA
Image caption Contactless card use rose with its introduction on transport in London

Low-value transactions drove a 10% rise in purchases made on a card in 2014 compared with a year earlier.

The introduction of touch and go contactless card technology on transport in London last September was one reason behind the rise.

Use on London buses and trains now account for 11% of all contactless transactions, the UK Cards Association said.

Recent data showed cashless payments have overtaken notes and coin use.

Last month, the Payments Council said the use of cash by consumers, businesses and financial organisations fell to 48% of payments last year.

The remaining 52% was made up of electronic transactions, ranging from high-value transfers to debit card payments, as well as cheques.

Online spending

The latest figures show that the average amount paid via debit card was £43.45 last year, down by £1.04 since 2013.

This reflected the impact of an increasing number of lower value contactless payments, the UK Cards Association said.

The limit on contactless payments is £20 per transaction. This will rise to £30 in September.

"Consumers are making more than twice as many card payments every day than they were 10 years ago," said Richard Koch, head of policy at the association.

Another reason for the rise was the frequency of transactions over the internet, the association said.

Online shopping accounted for £21 of every £100 paid via cards at UK retailers, figures collected for the first time show. Some 28% of this was spent with entertainment retailers.

About 60% of the UK adult population have a credit card, the association said. Some 80% of credit and charge card spending was made by people who paid it off in full before the end of the month before incurring any additional charges.

The association said the use of fingerprint technology on smartphones was likely to increase the frequency of payments made without the need to enter a four-digit pin number.

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