Tap happy - we're going contactless

Contactless spending is expected to account for almost half (47%) of all transactions by the end of 2022 as it becomes the most popular payment method for the first time.

Research by VoucherCodes.co.uk by the Centre of Retail Research (CRR) examined the pandemic's effect on the way UK shoppers pay for goods.

The study shows that pre-pandemic in 2020, chip and pin was the most popular payment method, accounting for over a third (37%) of all transactions in the UK. During the same period, only 17% of all payments made were contactless.

However, chip & pin payments are forecast to decline to just 25% of all purchases and cash payments will see a sharp decline, accounting for just over a tenth (11%) of all payments by the end of 2022.

The switch, which will constitute a 30% increase in contactless payments from pre-pandemic to the end of 2022, was accelerated by changing consumer and retailer behaviour when it comes to paying for goods. Shoppers swapped cash for card for hygiene reasons, many retailers also stopped accepting cash altogether, and the contactless payment limit increased from £30 to £45.

Looking ahead to next year, card payments are expected to account for almost three quarters (72%) of all transactions.

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, says: “Covid-19 has forever changed the way consumers spend their money. With exponential increases in online orders during the pandemic, combined with increased contactless limits and retailers implementing cash bans, people have quickly adapted to relying on contactless payments for the bulk of purchases as a result.

“It remains to be seen whether the government will amend laws relating to legal tender, enabling retailers to permanently refuse to accept cash if they wish.”

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