Research carried out by payment provider SumUp found the UK saw an increase of 4.2 percent in the number of transactions paid by contactless cards
Research carried out by payment provider SumUp found the UK saw an increase of 4.2 percent in the number of transactions paid by contactless cards last year. This represents a rise from 83.5 percent in 2020 to 87 percent in 2021 with the method gaining popularity as a way of paying for goods and services while social distancing during the pandemic. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Nine Etienne, vice president at SumUp, spoke about why the UK has embraced contactless payments compared to its European counterparts.
Ms Etienne explained: “As is often the case with the success of new technology, convenience is key.
“Increasingly, we are seeing a desire to streamline interactions between consumers and merchants; we want to order meals and buy clothes with the press of a button.
“In the UK, society operates around ease of access, and we have the infrastructure to carry that out.
“We have widespread cellular networks reaching virtually all corners of the country, meaning that everyone – from independent market traders to pub landlords – has access to make payments quickly and efficiently.
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“Also, most banks in the UK now offer contactless cards as standard issue – a practice which is not extended across Europe.”
On the topic of the dangers posed by paying using this method, Ms Etienne said the UK Government’s increase of the contactless limit is a sign of their confidence in it.
She added: “Every time the UK government raises the contactless limit – which last happened in October 2021, increased from £45 to £100 – they conduct a comprehensive report into rates of financial scams.
“If there was proof of a genuine danger to consumers using contactless payment methods, the limit would not be increased.
“In March 2020 and beyond, official government advice was to avoid touching surfaces that might have come into contact with others.
“Naturally, this saw people move from using cash to using card payments, and led to many small businesses no longer accepting cash altogether.
“For many, this has continued to be the norm; our data shows that contactless payments have increased by 18.4 percent since 2019, and now make up 87 percent of card transactions – compared to just 74 percent in 2019.
“This said, whilst contactless payment technology has played a key role in sustaining the economy during the pandemic, ditching cash altogether would come with a menagerie of problems as it is still the primary payment method for isolated communities across the UK.”