You’ve rushed to your local corner shop, picked up the groceries for dinner and paid using tap ‘n’ go and before you know it you’re on your way home. Whether it’s a credit or debit card this is a pretty typical situation these days, especially since 73% of all cards issued in 2017 in the UK were contactless. We did some research to understand contactless card trends in the UK and Brits’ attitudes are towards them.
Quick stats on contactless payments in the UK
Over two thirds (69%) of Brits use the contactless feature when spending
Almost 124 million contactless cards were in circulation in 2018
7.4 billion contactless payments were made in 2018
Those aged between 25-34 are the most likely to pay with contactless with 83% of this age group making contactless payments in 2018
Over a third (38%) of all contactless transactions are carried out in a supermarket, making it the most common place for contactless spending
94% of Brits support contactless and over half (58%) would like the contactless cap to be raised
In May 2019 there were 723 million contactless transactions, this is 18.2% higher than May 2018
Contactless transactions were valued at £6.7 billion in May 2019, that is a 17.2% rise compared to the same period in 2018
What Brits think about the contactless limit
Finder’s new research has found that 94% of Brits support contactless and many would actually prefer a higher limit. The current contactless limit is £30, but the average preferred limit was found to be £44.49. Indeed, over half of Brits (58%) support raising the contactless cap, with nearly a third (29%) saying they would like £50 to be the limit. Over a quarter (28%) of Brits are content with the current £30 cap, while only 6% say that contactless payments should not be allowed.
Percentage of people who would like this amount to be the contactless limit
Those that don't think contactless payments should be allowed
Comparison between the different banks
Customers at different banks have differing opinions on what they would like the contactless cut-off point to be. Brits who bank with Starling desire the highest contactless cap of the survey with an average of £50.77, whereas those who keep their money with Natwest would be happy with a lower limit of £39.67 – this still exceeds the £30 limit that is in place at the moment. Those who bank with ‘challenger banks’ such as Revolut and Monzo are more likely to want a higher limit, with customers wanting an average of £47.86 to be the max. Conversely, those who use ‘traditional banks’ would be happier with a limit of £43.91 on average.
Our research found all generations would like the contactless cap to be raised with the preferred average limit for all age ranges sitting above the current £30 cut-off point. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the generation that would be happiest with the lowest average amount is the silent generation (£37.82). On the other hand, Gen X (those born 1965-1980) want the highest limit of £47.12 compared to all other generations.
All regions would like the contactless limit to be increased, with every region’s desired average limit exceeding the £30 limit that is currently in place. London is the region that is most behind raising the contactless cap with almost three quarters (74%) of residents saying this. At the other end of the scale is the East of England, only 37% of residents here are in support of raising for the contactless payment limit.
Percentage of those who support raising the contactless limit
East of England
Yorkshire and the Humber
“Finder’s latest research shows that 94% of the UK’s banking customers are embracing contactless and that over half (58%) would like to see the limit be raised. This could help stimulate consumer spending and prove beneficial to vendors, the economy as well as consumers.
“Of course, increasing the contactless cap would mean larger amounts are lost if your card is stolen. It is always worth regularly checking your account or using personal finance apps that give you real-time spending notifications so that you can immediately notice any transactions that were not carried out by you.”
Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
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