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UK Contactless Spend Hits £1.5B Milestone

UK contactless spending hit milestone

The U.K. Cards Association announced on Thursday (May 19) that the monthly spending on contactless cards reached a record £1.5 billion in March 2016.

In Nov. 2015, monthly contactless spending hit £1 billion. Today, one in seven of all card transactions that take place in the U.K. are contactless, compared to just one in 16 last year.

In a news release, Richard Koch, U.K. Cards Association’s head of policy, said:

“It took almost eight years for monthly contactless spending to reach half a billion pounds; now, it’s grown by the same amount in just four months. This dramatic rise shows that paying with contactless is now second nature for millions of consumers who see it as an alternative to cash.”

“Contactless cards are already being used to pay for travel and to donate to charity, and as the technology evolves, we will see even more environments where contactless will enable fast, easy and secure payments,” Koch continued.

In March, approximately 179.6 million contactless purchases took place, amounting to 67 transactions being made every second.

The latest U.K. card expenditure statistics underpin the popularity of contactless payments in the region.

Across Europe, the love for tap-and-pay payments seems to be taking off.

Earlier this month, Visa Europe released data showing that one in five in-person card transactions are now being made with a contactless card in the region. This translates to nearly 3 billion tap-and-pay transactions in Europe over the course of the last 12 months, tripling levels from a year ago.

The value of those swipes-turned-taps has also been on the rise of late; the 360 million or so uses of contactless cards in April showed a 12 percent uptick in value. Notably, this grows the average value of a swipe to ~$15.75.

The heaviest use of contactless cards is in the U.K., where growth was in the 300 percent range, followed by Poland and Spain.

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