Contactless transactions in the UK grow 150% year-on-year

Barclays and Barclaycard, say they have seen the number of contactless transactions processed through Barclaycard terminals grow by over 150% year on year. This coincides with the news that there are now over 52,000 contactless terminals in the UK, installed by Barclaycard.

This is evidence that the 12.9 million contactless cardholders, of whom over 11.4 million are Barclays debit and Barclaycard credit cards, are increasingly taking advantage of the opportunities to make purchases under £15 more quickly and easily.

Since 2009 there has been a 90% increase in the number of contactless cards distributed across the UK, and during 2010, over 1.7 million contactless transactions were processed(1). As contactless payments continue to grow in popularity big name retailers, such as Co-op and McDonalds, are beginning to trial and implement the technology.

Richard Armstrong, Head of UK Payment Acceptance at Barclaycard, said: “The range of retailers offering contactless payments grew significantly in 2010 but this is still only the beginning. Last year we announced that the Co-op would be rolling out the technology across its pharmacy and food stores and we expect other grocers to follow suit. We are already seeing contactless become a fixture in the leisure and entertainment sector, with terminals having been installed at Wembley Arena. Retailers realise that with contactless technology they can boost customer satisfaction by reducing queues and the need for consumers to search for the correct change, especially as the UK Cards Association last year predicted that by the end of 2012, one in four cardholders will have a card with contactless functionality.”

Contactless transactions offer speed and ease to shoppers and can benefit retailers by reducing the average queuing time. Research conducted last year by Barclays and Barclaycard revealed that consumers are not inclined to wait in queues. According to the research, two fifths of us refuse to queue for longer than two minutes, and more than two thirds of us will abandon the queue if the wait is too long. Additionally, half (51%) of shoppers refuse to even enter a store if they see a queue.

Dan Wass, Current Accounts Director at Barclays, said: “Contactless is becoming ever more popular due to the on-the-go lifestyle that many customers lead. We encourage retailers to both offer the service, and to promote the use of contactless in store so that customers can reap the full benefits. A growing number of card issuers and banks are waking up to the benefits of contactless payment technology and we expect there will be significant growth in the number of transactions in 2011, as awareness increases amongst consumers. At the same time, we believe that mobile contactless payments will help to accelerate usage figures.”

1 UK Cards Association 2010