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Barclaycard records surge in contactless payments following limit increase

New data reveal that 91.1 per cent of all in-store card transactions in 2021 were contactless.

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Barclaycard/contactless payments

Pundits’ vision of a cashless future may be realised faster than expected. Barclaycard has released new data showing that 91.1 per cent of its in-store card payments in 2021 were contactless, as shoppers and merchants took advantage of the payment limit increase the company introduced in October 2021.

Barclaycard’s data show a huge 40.2 per cent increase year-on-year in total value of contactless transactions. The company attributes the notable spike in shoppers opting to ‘touch and go’ at check-out, to its decision to increase the payment limit from £45 to £100, from which point Barclaycard claims the average number of daily contactless transactions in the UK grew 27.5 per cent.

As one of the most popular card issuers in the UK, Barclaycard sees almost half the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, making it a bellwether for wider industry trends.

Aside from the increase in spending limit, Jose Carvalho, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, links the shift in customer behaviours, at least in part, to hygiene concerns prompted by Covid.

“Unsurprisingly, many consumers are increasingly reluctant to touch cash or PIN pads when they go to shops which is why innovations that enable a ‘low touch’ experience, such as contactless payments have really grown in popularity,” he said.

Barclaycard claim that the timesaving associated with contactless payments has also been a factor.

“The increase to the £100 payment limit has been a great opportunity to take friction out of the purchase experience,” said Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments. “This is especially the case in busy stores where queues can quickly build up; the faster that line moves through, the more likely shoppers are to have a good experience and want to come back. Speed at the checkout will often avoid shoppers going elsewhere, which is why the limit increase is a win-win for cardholders and merchants.”

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