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UK shoppers spend more than ever on contactless cards

In London almost half of payments under £30 are contactless, with Manchester and other cities also seeing big increases

The amount spent by shoppers using contactless cards and devices soared by 164% last year, in another record-breaking year for increasingly popular “touch and go” payments.

Half of Britons now pay by contactless payments at least once a month, according to the Barclaycard contactless spending index, while one in five (21%) are planning to increase their usage next year. The figures relate to payments handled by Barclaycard, which processes £1 of every £3 spent using payment cards in the UK.

Overall, London continues to lead the way for contactless usage, with almost half (47%) of all eligible transactions (up to the £30 limit) now being contactless – up from three in 10 in 2014. Spending in Manchester rose more than any other UK city – climbing 325% – with Glasgow, Blackpool, Hull and Edinburgh also seeing significant increases

The UK’s pubs and bars enjoyed brisk trade with contactless payments surging 79%, and technology such as Barclaycard’s “Pay @ Pump” self-pouring beer pump is likely to mean more people paying for drinks in this way.

The news comes as the industry body the UK Cards Association (UKCA), reveals that the number of contactless debit and credit cards in the UK now tops 100m. A total of £2.8bn was spent using contactless cards in October – up 0.8% on September, with a record monthly spend of £55bn using plastic, the majority of which was on debit cards.

The increasing popularity of mobile payments and wearable devices such as the Apple Watch had also contributed to the surge in contactless payments

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