Contactless Payments: The Preferred Choice for British Consumers

Contactless payments have taken over the retail landscape in Britain, with a staggering 93.4% of all in-store card transactions under £100 being conducted through touch and pay methods in 2023. This data from Barclays showcases the significant shift towards contactless payment methods in the UK.

What is even more noteworthy is the growth among older generations in adopting contactless payments. Individuals aged 65 and above have shown a remarkable increase in using touchless transactions, with usage reaching 80% among those aged 85 to 95. Overall, there was a 7.8% increase in touchless transactions in the UK compared to the previous year.

The average individual in the UK made 231 contactless transactions in 2023, up from 220 in the previous year. Not only are people making more transactions, but they are also purchasing more expensive items. Consequently, total consumer spending through contactless payments rose by 8.9% to £3,623 for the year.

While the age gap in contactless payment usage is decreasing, younger consumers are demonstrating a preference for mobile payments. More individuals aged 18 to 34 are opting to pay with their phones rather than using physical cards. In fact, 22% of shoppers in this age group do not even carry a wallet when they go shopping. Additionally, 15% of those ages 18 to 34 prefer scanning a QR code to pay at a restaurant, eliminating the need to wait for the bill at the end of a meal.

Interestingly, when it comes to high-value purchases exceeding £100, traditional payment methods are still favored in the UK. Chip and PIN cards and cash remain popular options for big-ticket items, with mobile wallets ranking third in popularity.

These trends underscore the prevailing preference for contactless payments over cash in the UK. According to a survey from takepayments in 2023, almost half of respondents (48%) favored contactless card payments, surpassing cash (17%) and chip and PIN transactions (11%). The shift towards contactless payments in Britain seems to be a lasting trend that is reshaping the way consumers make purchases.