COVID-19 pandemic pushes 88% of Barclaycard transactions to contactless

COVID-19 pandemic pushes 88% of Barclaycard transactions to contactless

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Spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, 88.6% of Barclaycard in-store transactions were made using contactless technology last year, up from 86.4% in 2019, an increase of about 2.5%.

The adoption of contactless was also aided by Barclaycard raising its contactless limit from £30 to £45 on March 24, 2020. The technology can address pandemic fears by reducing the need to touch a point of sale terminal, as well as speeding the payment process so that people can move through faster. Barclaycard claimed that a contactless payment can be completed seven seconds faster than a Chip and PIN transaction, and 15 seconds faster than using cash.

“We are proud to be playing our part in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and we are delighted to see that even more Brits are relying on contactless to make in-store payments, said Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products at Barclays U.K. in the release. “We believe that contactless is the safer, faster and most responsible way to pay in store, and we encourage all consumers to take advantage of it wherever possible.”

In the first month after Barclaycard raised the transaction limit, it experienced an incremental £264 million (about $360 million) in contactless spend.

Since the introduction of the higher limit, the average contactless transaction value has jumped by 29%, going from £9.60 in 2019 to £12.38.

Several sectors experienced strong contactless growth with fuel merchants up 24.7% in contactless payments for 2020, compared to 2019, grocery stores were up 29.4% and the DIY home improvement stores were up 69.4%.

On an individual level, the average contactless user made 141 contactless transactions in 2020 worth a total of £1,640 (about $2,240). The over-65 age segment was the group likeliest to embrace the technology for the first time, with a 12% annual increase in the number of active contactless users.

Barclaycard’s growth in contactless payments was in line with the rapid adoption in the technology across the globe. In May, Mastercard had announced that 78% of its in-store transaction had gone contactless due to the pandemic and that it expected the change to become permanent.

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