Contactless payments within the UK continue to rise as Barclays reveals that the total value of the payment method increased by nearly 50% in 2022 compared to the same period the year prior. 

Barclays stated that Brits are embracing the £100 transaction limit which was lifted over the last year on ‘touch and go’ contactless payments, as UK citizens are adjusting back to shopping habits post-pandemic. 

The data for the research was compiled from up to billions of Barclays debit and credit card transactions, aiming to deliver a clear and comprehensive view of the rapid consumer behaviour shift from cash to contactless payments. 

Adam Lishman, Head of Consumer Products at Barclays, commented: “The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forward last year. 

“The higher £100 limit, introduced at the end of 2021, really made its mark as shoppers flooded back to high streets following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, leading to a surge in transactions.”

Contactless payments per user averaged out to £3,327 last year according to Barclays, with a record 91.2% of all eligible transactions made using the payment technology. 

Mobile wallets, such as Apple and PayPal, continued to maintain their position as the preferred contactless payment method, with digital wallets accounting for 4.1% of all contactless transactions by value, with payments over £100 rising by more than 100% over the course of the last year. 

“Brits are also becoming more comfortable making high-value contactless payments from their mobile, with these transactions accounting for an even greater share of total contactless spend,” added Lishman. 

The hotel, resorts and accommodation industries all saw spending within their respective sectors grow a substantial 101% when it came to accepting contactless payments in 2022. 

Barclays also states that the electronics sector saw a 97.5% contactless payment growth, with the bars/pubs/clubs rising by 92%, restaurants 90.5%, and retail jumping 83%. 

The Christmas period was a busy one for UK shoppers, Barclays noted, with 23 December being the busiest shopping day of the year, highlighted by the 92% rise in contactless payments from the same date in 2021. 

This may be partially due to the fact that COVID-19 restrictions were significantly lighter than they were in 2021 as UK citizens try to get back to normality, with contactless payments being viewed as a quick and efficient way to buy their goods and services. 

Lishman concluded: “While check-out-free shopping is gradually becoming more prominent, thanks to improvements in mobile technology, in the short term it’s hard to see another payment method competing with contactless when it comes to both speed and ease.”