Contactless payment in the UK has grown very rapidly in the last couple of years. Consumers spending on contactless cards in the UK more than tripled in 2014 as more and more consumers are adopting the technology to make payments. According to the UK Cards Association, the market for contactless payments in the UK touched £2.32billion in the year 2014, a 255%-increase on the previous year’s figure of £653 million.
In order to further boost contactless payments in the country, the maximum cap on contactless payments is expected to be increased to £30 from September 2015. The average debit and credit card transaction in a supermarket is worth just over £25 currently. Many high street retailers now have contactless terminals in place, and Transport for London accepts contactless payments on buses and at stations. The growing list of retail outlets that accept contactless payments includes Aldi, Barnardo’s, Boots, Superdrug, Costa Coffee, Greggs, IKEA, JD Wetherspoon, Lidl, London Buses, London Tubes, M6 Toll, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s, Post Office, Stagecoach, Waitrose and WHSmith.
Recently, Visa has also signed an agreement with four of the UK's largest banks for the commercial rollout of V.me, a digital wallet for online shoppers. Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and TSB Bank are expected to rollout their wallets soon. V.me is part of Visa’s portfolio of products which enables online commerce for retailers and consumers. V.me is designed to increase the convenience of online shopping and reduce the proportion of sales that are abandoned during the checkout process. V.me lets registered users make secure online payments at participating merchants with just a username and password, thereby removing the hassle of having to enter a card number, bill-to and ship-to information for every transaction. V.me service was first launched by Nationwide Building Society. With the current inclusion of four banks, VISA has gained commitment from 55% of the UK’s issuance base, which accounts for more than 60 million cardholders.
The new retailers committed to the service include the Arcadia Group (owners of Topshop), Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Evans. Commitment has also been secured from other leading online services including Iceland, Bathstore and Costco.co.uk.
Likewise, Apple early this week has confirmed that it will launch its Apple Pay service in the UK. The contactless service will be available in 250,000 locations including the London transport network. The much-anticipated move comes nine months after Apple Pay was launched in the US. Apple announced the rollout of the service at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on 8th June, 2015