Contactless card spending reaches new landmark in UK

The growth and popularity of contactless technology continues in the UK, with new figures showing this payment method accounted for half of debit card transactions in July 2019.

In its latest Card Spending Update, UK Finance – the trade association for banking and financial services – said 35% of credit card transactions during the month and 50% of debit card transactions were made using contactless cards.

In total, the figures showed there were 766 million contactless card transactions in July 2019, a 17.8% increase from 650 million in the same month a year earlier.

The total value of contactless transactions came to £7.2 billion over the course of the month, representing an 18% increase from the £6.1 billion recorded one year before.

UK Finance said there was a total of 1.6 billion debit and credit card transactions made in the UK in July 2019, which was 5.7% more than a year ago. This reflected a total spend of £60.1 billion, which was actually 0.7% down on the same period in 2018.

Data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in September supported UK Finance figures showing how debit and credit cards are accounting for a larger share of retail-related payments across Great Britain.

The BRC Payment Survey for 2018 found the value of credit card spending over the course of the year trumped cash for the first time.

Debit card spending in UK retail totalled £216.4 billion and was the most popular method of payment, but credit and charge card transactions, at £81.9 billion, usurped the £77.7 billion payments made via cash.