Contactless card use is firmly established in the UK, dating back to 2007 when the popular OnePulse was launched.
In fact, recent data from Barclays, one of the country’s largest lenders, shows that the value of contactless payments increased by nearly 50% in 2022, with contactless spend averaging around £3,327 per user over the past year.
Overall, a record-breaking 91.2% of all Barclays debit and credit card transactions were processed using this technology, with Northern Ireland and Scotland emerging as the fastest growing regions for contactless in the UK
“The higher £100 limit introduced at the end of 2021 has really had an impact as shoppers flocked back to the high streets following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, prompting a surge in transactions [last year]’ said Adam Lishman, head of consumer goods at Barclays, in the report.
Lishman added, “While checkout is beginning to gain traction thanks to improvements in mobile technology, in the near term it’s hard to see another payment method that can compete with contactless when it comes to speed and ease of use.”
One of the payment methods that can’t seem to compete with contactless payments is mobile wallets. According to the Barclays report, while mobile contactless transactions grew 109% last year, they accounted for just 4.1% of the total value of all contactless transactions last year.
These results align with data collected in a PYMNTS study of digital shopping preferences in the UK, which, after surveying over 2,200 consumers and 620 retailers from across the country, found that British consumers were the “least mobile-centric” nation of the six are studied countries – Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States
The UK edition of PYMNTS’ 2022 Global Digital Shopping Playbook series also found that Britons are “16% less likely than the average consumer across the six countries surveyed to use their smartphone at any point during their shopping journey, whether they’re shopping online, in business or a mix of both.”
This explains why mobile-assisted payments haven’t yet caught on with UK shoppers as well as consumers in other countries, but experts say that could change soon.
In a panel discussion reviewing the study’s findings, Denise Burkett-Stus, head of Cybersource Europe, pointed to survey data from the report showing Millennials and Gen Zs are two and three times more likely than the average UK consumer to pay via email, respectively mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Click to Pay.
Harshna Cayley, Head of Online Payments at Barclaycard Payments, added that the growing influence of social commerce and influencers on young consumers’ shopping experience is a key driver behind this trend, which goes beyond just payments.
“[Their experience] does not include any physical map at all,” Cayley told PYMNTS. “It’s either a virtual card, a digital wallet, or an integrated social commerce experience with payments embedded. You don’t even have to think about payments.”
Find out more: Report: More than half of UK card payments are contactless
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