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Contactless spend limit to rise to £30 as card use more than trebles in 2014

Shoppers will be able to spend up to £30 when they pay using their contactless card as spending via the technology tripled to £2.32bn in 2014.

The limit per transaction is to be increased from £20 from September, the UK Cards Association has announced. It means shoppers will be able to spend more on smaller-priced goods and at a faster rate due to not having to insert a debit or credit card and enter their pin.

The move follows an upsurge in spending via contactless cards, boosted by Transport for London’s decision to accept contactless payments across its network in September last year.

Shoppers used contactless cards on 319 million occasions in 2014. Since September 41 million of those occasions took place either on either a London bus or tube. The uptake helped more than treble transactions, from payments worth £653m in 2013, to £2.32bn last year.

Some 58 million contactless cards are currently in circulation, according to the UK Cards Association, 52 per cent more than there were at the end of 2013.

Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: “Contactless has now firmly stepped into the mainstream. With usage soaring every month last year, we’ve seen people flocking to contactless payments as they switch away from cash. For retailers, contactless means quicker queues and greater convenience for their customers.”

The average spend in a single contactless transaction is £8.26. The transactions happened at a rate of 10 a second, and peaked at 319 million, a rise from 100 million in 2013.

The findings are the latest indication that the UK is fast becoming a cashless society. Digital transactions are poised to leapfrog cash payments as of March this year, according to a stuffy by The Times. This would see contactless payments hitting £19.6bn compared to £19bn for cash transactions.

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