Statistics released by Visa Europe today show that UK bars and pubs have seen a surge in contactless payments in the £20 to £30 band since the limit for this type of transaction was increased to £30 last summer.

Average weekly growth in these transactions was 30% between October 2015 and March 2016, according to the card company, compared to growth of 3% for contactless purchases under £20.

In general, contactless transactions over £20 saw an average monthly growth rate of 19.1% between October 2015 and March 2016, which was over twice the average monthly growth rate of 8% for contactless transactions under £20 during that period. Visa also said that contactless usage between £20 and £30 now accounts for more than 10% of all face-to-face card transactions within that spending band.

Visa Europe is responsible for processing more than 18 billion transactions annually, and there are more than 500 million Visa cards in operation in Europe. The card business says that €1 in every €6 spent in Europe is on a Visa card.

Kevin Jenkins, managing director for UK & Ireland at Visa Europe, noted that the growth trajectory for contactless payments appears strong.

"Increasing the spending limit to £30 has clearly encouraged consumer adoption and retailer opportunity across Britain," he commented.

"Families are now able to do their weekly supermarket shop and pay contactless; the increase has driven a demonstrable shift in consumer behaviour."

Supermarkets, restaurants and petrol stations have significantly benefited from the rise in the contactless spending limit, according to Visa's research, with the former seeing a 100% increase in the number of contactless payments being taken since the cap was raised.

"Overall, we have seen 36 million contactless transactions over £20 in the first six months; which amounts to nearly £900 million of transactions made easily and safely, in less time, freeing consumers from the need to carry cash," stated Jenkins.

"While the number of transactions continues to grow, we are already seeing the next generation payment technology arrive, with mobile and wearable payment services bedding in."

Indeed, Anthony Duffy, director of retail banking at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, predicts that consumer use of contactless payment methods will help drive the adoption of alternative transaction methods, such as mCommerce, in the coming months.

"With mobile devices – such as Apple and Samsung phones – now being equipped with contactless–enabled electronic wallets, many see this as a key next step in the development of the contactless payments infrastructure," he explained.

"At Fujitsu, we expect that, as user familiarity with and confidence in contactless payments continue to grow, consumer use of this payment mechanism is set to grow further."

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Visa Europe