UK Shoppers’ Use of Contactless Cards Spikes 94% YOY

man using contactless card

Contactless cards have long been at the center of the U.K.’s payments ecosystem, but now, digital wallets are quickly entering the mix. There is also a simultaneous shift from contactless credit to contactless debit cards. It all plays into payment choice, which is critical.

Exploring this in “The 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index: U.K. Edition,” a PYMNTS and Cybersource collaboration, we note the U.K.’s penchant for contactless payment methods, as 58% of in-store shoppers paid using a contactless card in 2022, up 94% year-over-year. Digital wallets are following suit as this payment method gains users in the U.K.

UK consumer payments

As the study states, “Much of this growth in digital wallet usage was driven by Apple Pay. According to our research, 337% more in-store shoppers paid via Apple Pay in 2022 than one year prior. This explosive growth is likely due to the increase in Apple Pay’s spending limit, which went into effect on October 15, 2021. Prior to this date, in-store shoppers in the U.K. could only use Apple Pay to pay for purchases of up to £45 ($55); the spending limit allowed them to make transactions of up to £100 ($122). This instantly expanded the pool of eligible purchases and almost certainly contributed to the surge in both Apple Pay and digital wallet use in the U.K. year over year.”

Riding along with the rising popularity of digital payment methods are loyalty programs prized by U.K. shoppers.

We found that 8% of shoppers — a small but not inconsequential number — say that rewards programs connected to contactless cards are not merely important, “but that they are the single most important shopping feature they want merchants to provide.”

Additionally, convenience is crucial when choosing a merchant. Per the study, 48% of U.K. consumers value streamlined online experiences, and 7.3% say it is the most important feature when choosing between merchants. It’s the third-most cited feature by consumers.

Get your copy: The 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index: U.K. Edition