A record 69% of debit card transactions in December were contactless


Nearly seven in 10 debit card transactions in December were contactless, with the proportion of tap and go payments reaching record highs, according to a trade association.

UK Finance said the proportion of contactless card payments continued to rise in December 2021 and reached the highest level on record, accounting for 69% of debit card transactions and 56% of credit card transactions.

The average amount spent on a contactless card has increased by 29% per transaction after the contactless spending cap was raised from £45 to £100 last October.

In September, before the increase in the contactless limit, the average spend per contactless payment was £11.86.

This rose by £3.44, or 29%, to £15.30 in December.

The increased limit came into effect on October 15, but it took a while for many retailers and payment providers to update their systems so they could accept the new £100 limit.

Around 415 contactless transactions took place every second last year, UK Finance said.

Some 13.1 billion contactless payments were made in 2021, an increase of 36% from 2020 and 52% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The total value of contactless transactions in 2021 has also increased, reaching £165.9 billion. This is 46% more than in 2020 and more than double the amount (a 106% increase) recorded in 2019.

Lee Hopley, Director of Economic Insights and Research at UK Finance, said: “These figures show the continued popularity of contactless payments, as well as people making higher value payments.

“From October last year the new £100 limit was rolled out and gives customers greater choice in 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, representing a significant increase from the previous year, and in December, a record 69% of all card payments were debit were contactless purchases.”


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