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Barclaycard: Contactless spending soars in the UK

The bank found that contactless payments now account for 1 in 10 card transactions with spending nearing one billion pounds ($1.4 billion) per month.

Contactless payments in the U.K. are on the rise thanks to a new higher limit on such transactions, which took effect in September, according to new data from Barclaycard.

The bank found that contactless payments in the U.K. now account for 1 in 10 card transactions with spending nearing one billion pounds ($1.4 billion) per month. Consumers who use contactless methods such as cards and mobile devices do not need to enter a PIN to authorize purchases up to 30 pounds ($43.96), which is 10 pounds ($14.65) more than the previous limit. 

Barclaycard said spending volume has increased in establishments such as pubs and bars — almost doubling since September. The bank did not release figures for actual transaction value. Contactless spending in fast food outlets and other restaurants has jumped by 62 percent and 51 percent, respectively, over the same period.

Across all spending categories, supermarkets have led the charge in the adoption of the new payment technology this year. Approximately 30 percent of all contactless transactions are now made in supermarkets, and the 30 pound upper limit also means that the average cost of a basket of goods — 25 pounds ($36.63) — can now be covered in a single contactless transaction, according to Barclaycard.

"In 2015 we've seen contactless become an even more popular way to pay for small transactions, so much so that we can even get frustrated if a retailer doesn't offer 'touch and go' as an option," Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said in a statement. "As the consumer appetite for new ways to pay continues to grow, particularly with the upcoming launch of high value payments and the continuing growth in wearable payment devices, we're expecting 2016 to be another record-breaking year for contactless."