More than half (51%) of payments were made by card in 2019, as more shoppers turned online to buy and as more in-store spending took place using contactless, a new study suggests.
The latest UK Payments Market report from UK Finance found that 17bn payments involved debit cards, including 7bn contactless payments. A further 3.3bn were made with credit cards, of which 1.3bn were contactless.
Factors involved in the rise of cards include the continued growth of online shopping, and retailers’ increased willingness to accept card payments. Some 48m UK adults bought goods and services online in 2019 – including 79% of those aged over 65 and over, according to the UK Finance report. Additionally, more than four fifths of adults used online, mobile or telephone banking in 2019 – up from three-fifths in 2009.
Contactless payments alone grew by 16% to reach 8.6bn, with supermarkets the most popular place to use contactless. UK Finance says that the growing trend towards cards may have helped to prepare shoppers for the coronavirus outbreak.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “An increase in ways to pay coupled with the change in people’s payment habits may have inadvertently gone some way to prepare the nation for the impact of Covid-19 on their daily lives. With consumers already using contactless payments and remote banking more than in previous years, these technological advances have allowed many people to shop and make payments safely from home or in store. The impact of Covid-19 may accelerate these habits for many customers; however, we are fully aware that not all customers are digitally-enabled which is why we are working flat out to ensure people have access to cash and everyday banking services remain available to help the country through these difficult times.”
Commenting, Rob Cameron, chief executive of Barclaycard Payments, said: “Just as consumers are becoming more comfortable with contactless and digital payments, we’ve also witnessed this same behavioural shift with our merchant clients. Not only are they placing more emphasis on their payments systems, they’re also considering how providing a quick and easy payments process improves the overall customer experience.
“Coronavirus has only accelerated this trend, with many traditionally face-to-face businesses switching to online and distance selling for the first time in order to adapt and grow, and it will be interesting to see how card payments continue to evolve in the months ahead.”
Barclaycard Payments has handled more than 25m contactless payments above the previous limit of £30 since the contactless limit was raised to £45 early in the pandemic. Now, it says, more than 90% of face-to-face transactions are made using contactless.