Consumers embrace £30 limit as higher value spend drives new contactless behaviour across the UK

London, 4th April 2016– The increase in the contactless card payment limit 6 months ago has had a transformative effect on consumer spending habits in the UK, according to new analysis from Visa Europe. The limit was increased from £20 to £30 in September 2015 and has generated significant growth of certain purchases within the new limit – such as at service stations, supermarkets and restaurants – and in contactless payments overall, which rose by 237% compared to the same period year-on-year.

The analysis, which follows Visa’s new ‘Cashfree and Proud’ campaign¹, reveals that contactless transactions over £20 saw an average monthly growth rate of 19.1% between October 2015 and March 2016. This is over twice the average monthly growth rate of 8% for contactless transactions under £20 over the same period, highlighting consumer appetite to use the technology for more expensive purchases. In total, contactless usage between £20 and £30 now account for more than 10% of all face-to-face card transactions within that spending band.

Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Visa Europe said: “The trajectory for contactless payments continues to look very strong. Increasing the spending limit to £30 has clearly encouraged consumer adoption and retailer opportunity across Britain; families are now able to do their weekly supermarket shop and pay contactless; the increase has driven a demonstrable shift in consumer behaviour. “

The shift in consumer payment behaviour has most clearly been felt in four categories, where the ability to tap and go has accelerated rapidly. In supermarkets, where the average supermarket basket is £25, the data shows a 100% increase in contactless transactions compared to the six months before the £30 limit was introduced. Restaurants have enjoyed a similar boost as a meal for two has come more into range when paying this way – spend there has risen 155%.

Similarly, consumers have turned to contactless when filling up their cars at service stations. The average contactless transaction at the pump has increased by £2.22 since the £30 limit began, rising from £8.47 to £10.69. With petrol prices hovering around the 104 pence a litre mark, that means consumers can buy nearly 29 litres of petrol on contactless – enough to drive from London to Cardiff and back².

Finally, bars and pubs have seen a surge in contactless transactions in the £20 to £30 band. Average weekly growth in these transactions was 30% between October 2015 and March 2016. This compares to growth of only 3% for contactless purchases under £20, suggesting larger rounds or more expensive bottles of wine are now being bought via tap and go.

Kevin Jenkins added: “Overall, we have seen 36 million contactless transactions over £20 in the first six months; which amounts to nearly £900m of transactions made easily and safely, in less time, freeing consumers from the need to carry cash. While the number of transactions continues to grow, we are already seeing the next generation payment technology arrive, with mobile and wearable payment services bedding in. Where the convenience and safety of making a contactless payment is available, consumers are eager to be cash free and proud.”

Notes to editors:

Visa launched their new campaign, “Cashfree and Proud” on 21st March. The series of adverts, fronted by Joanna Lumley and Brian Blessed, encourages consumers to adopt contactless in their daily lives. For more information and materials please visit the Visa newsroom here.

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 38 countries.

Visa Europe is at the heart of the payments ecosystem providing the services and infrastructure to enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees. Visa Europe is also the largest transaction processor in Europe, responsible for processing more than 18 billion transactions annually.

There are more than 500m Visa cards in Europe, while €1 in every €6 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. Total expenditure on Visa cards exceeds €2 trillion annually, with €1.5 trillion spent at point-of-sale.

Visa Europe is an independent business with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence to use the Visa brand in Europe. Visa Europe works in partnership with Visa Inc. to enable global Visa payments in more than 200 countries and territories.

For more information, visit and @VisaEuropeNews

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