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UK continues to embrace contactless payment



Two-thirds (66%) of Brits have used contactless cards to make a payment since they were introduced in 2017, according to Visa’s annual Digital Payments study.


The study of 2,000 consumers shows the UK is increasingly adopting the payment method, with a record 34% of card payments using contactless in June 2017.

Millennial shoppers (aged 18-35) have embraced contactless payments most enthusiastically, with over three quarters (76%) making a purchase with their contactless card – up 11% percent on 2016. Over 65s are more tentative when it comes to ‘tap to pay’, 55% of this group have done so, a slight increase on last year’s figure of 52%.

The sectors that have seen the greatest uptake of contactless usage are, in general, located on the high street – grocery stores and supermarkets see the highest level of contactless payments, followed by fast food restaurants.

London leads the UK in contactless usage with 78% of the city’s population having made a payment using a contactless debit or credit card, 12% above the national average. Outside of London, there is the most room for growth in the North West and South West regions of England, where 41% of consumers are yet to make a contactless purchase using their card.

This comfort in using contactless is driving adoption of new payment methods. For example, a quarter (26%) of the country has used a mobile device to pay contactlessly in a shop, rising to 36% among contactless card users.

Kevin Jenkins, managing director for Visa UK & Ireland, says: “The introduction of contactless cards in the UK ten 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 ten years looks set to see contactless payments become an ever greater part of our day to day lives.”

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