Contactless payments up 30% following £100 limit

The average contactless payment has increased by almost 30 per cent since the new £100 limit was introduced, according to new data from UK Finance.

Card spending data for December 2021 shows that the average amount spent per contactless card transaction rose by almost 30 per cent following the contactless spending limit increase from £45 to £100 in October last year.

In September, prior to the increase, the average spend per contactless payment was £11.86, which increased to £15.30 in December.

The data for average spend for October (£12.27), November (£13.57) and December (£15.30) shows a modest increase in the amount spent via contactless payments on a month by month basis.

The increased limit came into effect on 15 October, but it took a period of time for retailers and payment providers to update their systems and offer the new £100 limit, which means the increase in the average payment took time to show up in the data, according to UK Finance.

For 2021 as a whole, the card spending data shows a total of 13.1 billion contactless payments were made in the year – equivalent to 415 transactions every second.

This is up 36 per cent compared with 2020 and 52 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The total value of contactless transactions in 2021 also increased, reaching £165.9 billion. This is 46 per cent higher than in 2020 and 106 per cent more than 2019.

The proportion of card payments that were contactless continued to increase in December 2021 and reached its highest recorded level in that month, according to the data, accounting for 69 per cent of all debit card transactions and 56 per cent of all credit card transactions.

Lee Hopley, director of economic insight and research at UK Finance, said: "These figures show the continued popularity of contactless payments, as well as the fact people are making higher value payments. From October last year the new £100 limit was rolled out and it gives customers greater choice about how they pay for things like their weekly shop or a tank of fuel.

"For 2021 as a whole there were over 13 billion contactless transactions, which was a significant increase on the previous year, and in December a record 69 per cent of all debit card payments were contactless purchases.”

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