Contactless card

The UK's over 60s are taking to contactless payments in their droves with the number of users up 116% over the past 12 months, more than any other age group, according to Barclaycard.

In comparison, the number of contactless users among all other age groups is also rising, but as usage is already high, the rate of growth is slower. Among the 18-24 age group, users have risen by 49%, while for 26-45 year olds the figure is up 65% and among 46-60 year olds users has climbed by 97%.

The findings come as the UK Cards Association (UKCA) revealed that contactless spending passed £1.5 billion for the first time in March, increasing from £1bn per month in November. This upward trend in the popularity of contactless is supported by Barclaycard’s data showing that overall spending has more than doubled in the last 12 months, rising by 123%.

The results suggest that Britain’s love of a bargain continues to go from strength-to-strength, with the nation’s savvy spenders helping discount stores see a 431% surge in contactless transactions in the last year, more than any other sector. In second place were gift card & novelty stores up 261%, followed by service stations in third, where spending has climbed by 245%.

Across the UK, Manchester has seen the biggest increase in contactless usage, with the city’s residents spending 247% more in the last 12 months. Also seeing big leaps in contactless spending are Glasgow (243%), Cardiff (206%), Edinburgh (206%) and Blackpool (205%).

Overall, London continues to lead the way for contactless penetration with 36% of eligible transactions made using the service, up from three in ten just two years ago. This continued rise is largely accounted for by the increase in popularity of contactless travel on London’s tubes, trains and buses. Yet with a number of businesses outside of London continuing to adopt the technology, rapid levels of growth are expected to continue across the UK throughout the rest of 2016.

Adam Herson, product director at Barclaycard, said: "Our data released today shows that the nation's 'silver spenders' are anything but laggards when it comes to adopting new payments technology. Contactless provides a number of benefits - it's quicker, easier and allows transactions up to £30 to be made securely without a PIN - so it's not surprising that it's fast becoming a favourite way among the over 60s.

“Whether we’re stocking up on a few essentials on the way home from work, filling the car with fuel, or ordering a round of drinks in a busy bar on a Friday night - every second counts for today’s busy shopper. We expect this upward trend in contactless spending to continue to go from strength to strength throughout the rest of 2016.”