The number of card payments grew strongly in March, with contactless transactions pushing ahead and now accounting for 32% of total purchases, while the total number of contactless payments made over the past year increased by 160%.
New figures reveal that the number of card payments reached a monthly total of just below 1.4 billion in March 2017 - up by 19 million on February. The main contributors to this increase have been the ongoing migration of cash payments to cards, enhanced by increased use and acceptance of contactless cards.
The number of contactless payments rose to 442 million during the month, accounting for 32% of total purchases, up from 15% a year ago.
Meanwhile, the annual growth rate of the number of purchases continued to outstrip that of amount spent, highlighting a growing consumer preference to use cards more often for lower-value payments. There has also been a 36.6% increase in the number of bank-owned terminals available for UK customers to use to make a contactless payment. The total number of card purchases grew by 11.7% over the last 12 months, while purchases online increased by 16.3% and contactless payments by 160%
The total amount spent on credit and debit cards also recorded a robust increase and reached £57.8 billion, which was £335 million above the level recorded a month ago.
The figures reveal that consumers spent £1.76 billion on debit and credit cards in DIY stores in March 2017, up from £1.63 billion the previous year.
During the 12 months since last March, the total number of card payments made in the household retail category, which includes DIY stores, garden centres, floor covering retailers and electrical retailers, reached 697 million, with a value of £48.10 billion.
DIY retailers took a large proportion of that share over the course of the year, with nearly £20 billion spent via 345 million card transactions, whilst garden centres accounted for £2.82 billion via 77 million card payments.
The number of card payments made in the household sector in March 2017 compared with the same month last year, increased 8% to 61 million.
The average contactless transaction for March 2017 was £9.06 – a number that remains unchanged on the same month last year. However, the average transaction value made on debit and credit cards in the household category was £68.24 in March this year, which is more than double the £30 threshold for a contactless card payment in the UK.
There are a total of 107.4m contactless cards in issue in the UK, split between debit (72.3 million) and credit/charge cards (35.2 million). This figure is an increase of 1.5% on the previous month and 21.7% over the year. There has been
£4 billion was spent in the UK during March using a contactless card. This is an increase of 19.9% on the previous month and an increase of 165.8% on the previous year.