Two-thirds of Brits now tap to pay

Ten years on from the introduction of contactless debit and credit cards in the UK, Visa’s annual Digital Payments study reveals that two-thirds of Brits have used contactless cards to make a payment since they were introduced in September 2007.

According to the study of 2,000 consumers, a record 34% of card payments were made using the contactless method in June 2017. The UK is now the leading market in Europe in terms of transaction volumes using contactless payments.

Millennial shoppers aged 18 to 35 have embraced contactless payments most enthusiastically, with over three-quarters (76%) making a purchase with their contactless card. Consumers aged 65-plus are more tentative, with only 55% willing to ‘tap to pay’.

The retail sectors that have seen the greatest uptake of contactless usage are generally located on the high street. Grocery stores and supermarkets lead the way, followed by fast food restaurants and commuter transport.

Almost a fifth of all bank-owned contactless payment terminals are in London, which leads the UK in contactless usage. This is likely also driven by the integration of the technology across the Transport for London network. In May 2017 there were 420,842 bank-owned contactless terminals outside the M25 compared with 79,406 inside the M25.

Four in five Londoners have made a payment using a contactless debit or credit card; 12 percentage points above the national average. Outside the ‘London Bubble’, there is the most room for growth in the north-west and south-west regions, where 41% of consumers have yet to make a contactless purchase.

Overall, just over a quarter (26%) of Brits has used a mobile device to pay contactlessly in a shop.

Visa UK & Ireland managing director Kevin Jenkins said: “The introduction of contactless cards in the UK 10 years ago was a watershed moment for consumers. Whether buying lunch, commuting without having to top-up, queuing at bars and festivals, or donating to charity, Brits have come to expect a painless payment experience.

“Yet there’s still room for the uptake of contactless to grow, particularly outside London and the south-east. Our study shows the appetite for adopting new payment methods is greater than ever. And with mobile devices opening up myriad new ways to pay, the next 10 years looks set to see contactless payments become an ever greater part of our day-to-day lives.”

Visa is a global payments technology company. The Digital Payments study was commissioned by Visa and conducted by Populus between June and July 2017 in 22 European markets.

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