‘Silver spenders’ help drive tap and go contactless payments to record high

An estimated 91.2% of card payments last year were contactless, according to data covering spending when the technology was available.

Analysis of habits by debit and credit card users at Barclays showed face-to-face or in-store spending using contactless was up from 82.6% achieved the previous year.

The bank credited much of the “tap and go” growth to payments via mobile phones and on the over-65s – so-called silver spenders – with almost 83% of eligible cardholders using contactless in that age bracket.

That was up from 79% in 2021.

Across all age groups, contactless users made an average of 220 “tap and go” transactions, up from around 180 12 months previously.

Hotels, bars, pubs, clubs, the electronics sector and clothing retailers were among those to see the most gains.

The average spend was £15.13.

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The limit was raised from £45 to £100 in 2021 despite warnings from consumer groups that it risked opening the door to greater losses through fraud.

The technology has also been blamed for reducing demand for cash – cited by banks as a reason behind falling ATM numbers.

Adam Lishman, head of consumer products at Barclays, said: “The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forwards 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.

“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.”