Contactless Spending Increases 166% In 2016, Reveals Research

pdqData released by Barclaycard as part of its latest Contactless Spending Index shows that ‘touch and go’ payments have rocketed in the last 12 months, with year-on-year spending up 166 per cent.

The news comes as industry body, the UK Cards Association (UKCA), reveals that the number of contactless credit and debits cards in the UK now tops 100 million. Demonstrating the increasing popularity of contactless – which jumped 164 per cent in 2015 – separate research from Barclaycard** also reveals that one in two (50 per cent) of Brits now pay contactlessly at least once a month – with a fifth (21 per cent) planning to increase their usage even further next year.

The national picture

Position City Annual spending increase*
1 Manchester 325%
2 Glasgow 308%
3 Blackpool 296%
4 Hull 287%
5 Edinburgh 267%
6 Cardiff 266%
7 Liverpool 260%
8 Newcastle 257%
9 Birmingham 248%
10 Northampton 234%


The biggest leaps in contactless spending have been seen in some of the UK’s largest cities. In Manchester, ‘touch and go’ transactions have increased more than anywhere else, with residents spending 325 per cent more this year compared to last. Also seeing strong uplifts are: Glasgow (308 per cent), Blackpool (296 per cent), Hull (287%) and Edinburgh (267 per cent).

Overall, London continues to lead the way for contactless usage, with almost half (47 per cent) of all eligible transactions (those up to £30) now made contactlessly – up from three in ten in 2014.

Contactless spending in pubs and bars increased by 79%, fast-food outlets 69%, and restaurants 62%, with technology such Barclaycard’s “Pay @ Pump” self-pouring beer pump which was piloted earlier this month’s showing the demand for faster payments in the service industry.

The first of its kind, the self-pouring beer pump allows drinkers to pour their own pint of ale and pay with a touch of their contactless card or device in just 60 seconds and has been designed to help bars and pubs reduce queuing time for customers buying drinks during busy periods like Christmas.

Tami Hargreaves, Commercial Director, Digital Consumer Payments at Barclaycard, said:

“Brits across the UK are increasingly catching on to the speed and ease of ‘touch and go’ payments, meaning that for many, contactless is now the preferred way to pay. No longer is contactless just reserved for the morning coffee or afternoon snack, as our data shows, Brits are turning to these payments for all types of purchases, from a supermarket top-up shop to stocking up on everyday essentials in discount stores and pharmacies.

“In 2016, the increasing popularity of mobile payments and wearables has also contributed to the surge in contactless, and as more retailers continue to accept ‘touch and go’ as a way to pay we expect this upward trend to continue well into next year.”