Contactless reaches record level amid lower card spending

A record proportion of UK debit card payments in August were contactless, according to industry body UK Finance, accounting for 62 per cent of all debit card transactions.

The total number of contactless credit and debit card transactions rose by 7 per cent compared to July, as lockdown restrictions continued to ease and consumers took advantage of the higher £45 contactless spending limit.

This spending represented a total spend of £8.2 billion - a 19.3 per cent increase from August 2019.

Just under half (45 per cent) of all credit card transactions were contactless, with the number in August increasing 14.6 per cent compared to the previous month.

Overall, there were 1.2 billion debit and credit card transactions in the UK in August, 1.3 per cent fewer than the previous month and 27.7 per cent fewer than in August last year.

The total spend of £51.6 billion was 3.8 per cent less than July, and 14 per cent less than August 2019.

The value of transactions made by UK debit cardholders “remained strong”, said UK Finance, with total spending on debit cards amounting to £58.4 billion - 1.2 per cent below the record total value seen last month, but 12.5 per cent higher than August 2019.

The annual growth rate of outstanding balances on credit cards contracted again in August, dropping by 12.6 per cent as consumer repayments continued to outstrip new lending.

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