The rise of contactless payment in the UK

Contactless payments in the UK have become far more common over the last few years. According to the 2020 UK Finance Report, contactless payments account for more than a quarter of all UK payments. Over the last four years, contactless payments increased in frequency by 20%. 

Consumers and businesses alike are embracing the benefits of contactless payments. 83% of people in the UK are now using contactless, and there are 135 million contactless cards in circulation. The contactless payment limit was also increased from £30 to £45 in April of 2020, reflecting the popularity of the payment method. 

Mobile payments

Mobile payments also rose between 2019 and 2020. 32% of people were registered to use mobile payment services of some kind by the end of 2020; 7.4 million more people than in 2019. The rise of mobile payment is observable mostly in younger people. Among those aged 16 to 34 years old, just over 50% were registered for mobile payments, compared to 11% of people over 65. 

Businesses began to favor mobile payments as well. Because more people worked from home, there was a significant (72%) increase in remote and mobile banking. Businesses in particular used mobile payments to pay one another. 54% of all business-to-business payments in 2020 were made using mobile banking services. 

Cash isn’t king

What’s the one payment method that’s getting less popular? Cash. Cash payments fell by 35% in 2020. Although it is still the second most popular payment method, it is less popular than cards in the UK. The number of people who only used cash once, if at all, nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020. 

According to Chief Executive of UK finance David Postings, all of these developments are existing trends. The pandemic may have accelerated the shift away from cash and the increased popularity of contactless and mobile payments, but that shift would have happened regardless. 

Considering the trends in payment methods, this is a great time to set yourself up to accept cashless payments. With a SumUp card reader, you can accept all major credit and debit cards as well as allow customers to pay via Apple and Google pay. 

Card readers aren’t the only payment methods we offer; through the SumUp App you can also generate payment links and QR codes so that customers can pay you remotely. These forms of contactless payment can be sent to customers anywhere from anywhere, and take them to a secure website where they can enter their payment information. 

To find out if SumUp is right for you, get started with your free account here. 

Max Elias