Consumers in the UK are increasingly using contactless methods to make payments as cash continues to become less popular. Burhan Khadbai reports.

Almost a third of all payments in the UK in 2021 were made using contactless methods, showing the increasing popularity of this payment type, according to recently published data by UK Finance.

Contactless payments rose by 36% in 2021 compared with 2020, with 58% of all consumer card payments in the UK being made via contactless methods. The rise in contactless payments in the UK in 2021 can be explained by the increasing use of this payment method during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers opted to use cash less as a way of reducing the risk of transmitting the virus. In the UK, the contactless payment limit rose from £45 in April 2020 to £100 in October 2021.

The number of cash payments in the UK decreased by 1.7% to 6 billion in the UK in 2021, although cash remains the second most popular payment type. In 2021, there were 23.1 million consumers who used cash only once a month or not at all, an increase from 13.7 million consumers in the previous year. UK Finance expects cash use to continue to fall, dropping to 6% of all payments in the UK by 2031.

Meanwhile, the number of debit card and credit card payments in the UK rose in 2021, accounting for 57% of all payments in the UK. Debit cards were the most popular payment type, growing by more than 23% to a total of 19.5 billion payments.


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