Contactless sales smashed through the £100m barrier for the first time in March 2014. Sales of £109.2m in March were triple the same time last year of £35.3m.
Contactless adoption has been a long time in coming, many said it was a failed technology only a year or so ago. However it looks like the nay sayers were wrong as these latest sales figures further bolster contactless’ place in the payments market.
Contactless payments are made using a contactless payment card. If you are not aware of what one of those is you are now in the minority as a recent survey showed 58% of consumers in the UK know about the technology. Many banks now issue contactless payment cards as standard and Barclaycard have been doing so for years.
To make a payment with a contactless card you simply wave it near the contactless terminal when you come to pay. Customers can pay up to £20 via contactless though the average sale is well below that at £6.46.
Over 42 million contactless cards are now in circulation in the UK, Barclaycard alone expect transactions in 2014 to top £600m.
The huge increase in contactless sales in 2014 has been enabled by mainstream adoption. Merchants accepting contactless payment in the UK now include M&S, Boots, WHSmith, Co-Op, and Lidl. Merseyrail accept contactless payments and they are soon to be introduced on the London Tube.
Another factor has been the success of trials. There were one or two problems with customers being double charged but on the whole the trials were a massive success. Security fears have also been allayed with instances of fraud being extremely rare according to the UK card association.
The next step for contactless payments is likely to be expansion of payments with mobile phones. The infrastructure in lace for the cards can be used for these payments which are already popular in the US.