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Over 100m contactless cards in circulation as payments increase 166%

There are now over 100 million contactless credit and debits cards in circulation in the UK, according to the UK Cards Association. Meanwhile contactless spending rose 166% in 2016, beating 2015's growth record of 164%.

Contactless spending statistics from Barclaycard also revealed 50% of UK shoppers now pay contactlessly at least once a month, while 21% plan to use the technology more next year.

"Brits across the UK are increasingly catching on to the speed and ease of ‘touch and go’ payments, meaning that for many, contactless is now the preferred way to pay. No longer is contactless just reserved for the morning coffee or afternoon snack, as our data shows, Brits are turning to these payments for all types of purchases, from a supermarket top-up shop to stocking up on everyday essentials in discount stores and pharmacies," said Tami Hargreaves, commercial director, digital consumer payments at Barclaycard.

"In 2016, the increasing popularity of mobile payments and wearables has also contributed to the surge in contactless, and as more retailers continue to accept ‘touch and go’ as a way to pay we expect this upward trend to continue well into next year."

Manchester has been the city with the fastest growth rate of 235%, while shoppers in Glasgow, Blackpool, Hull and Edinburgh also increased their contactless usage dramatically in 2016.

But London is the city which tops the contactless spending charts, with nearly half of all transactions less than £30 now made using a contactless card or device.

Pubs and bars witnessed a 79% increase in contactless payments this year, which could be encouraged to grow even further after Barclaycard piloted a 'Pay @ Pump' self-pouring beer pump earlier this month.

The beer pump allows drinkers to pour their own pint and pay using their contactless card or device in 60 seconds. 

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