Contactless card payments soar in the U.K.

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Cash is still the most popular payment method in the U.K., but contactless cards and mobile payments gained significant momentum over the past year, according to new data.

Contactless card transactions in June were up 134% over a year earlier, and contactless card payments now account for 34% of all U.K. card transactions, trade industry group UK Finance said this week.

Total U.K. card spending in June reached £57.1 billion, up 7% over the same period a year earlier, according to UK Finance.

Cash transactions are still more numerous than any other payment type, accounting for 44% of all consumer retail payments, the organization said. Retail cash transactions totaled 15.4 billion during 2016, down about 11% from the 2015.

Separately, U.K. payments processor Worldpay said contactless payment volume—from both cards and mobile devices—nearly doubled during the first six months of this year. The total value of contactless payments was £9 billion from January through June, compared with £10 billion for all of 2016, Worldpay said in a Thursday press release.

Mobile contactless payments alone surged in the U.K. to reach £370 million during the first half of the year, up 336% from the same period a year ago, and supermarkets accounted for 55% of total mobile payment spending during the period, the processor said.

“Mobile spending has shaken off the novelty tag, and is breaking its own spending records virtually every month,” James Frost, Worldpay chief marketing officer in the U.K., said in the release.

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