UK Reaches 150 Million Contactless Cards Issued – Research Report

The UK has reportedly reached 150 million contactless cards issued, according to an update from UK Finance.

UK Finance’s Card Spending Update for March 2024 shows “that contactless cards now account for 93 percent of those in issue.”

UK Finance recently released its card spending data for March 2024, “covering the monthly value and volume of transactions across debit and credit cards.”

The data shows the number of contactless cards “in issue in the UK topped 150 million (150,172,000) for the first time in March 2024.”

This means that contactless cards now “make up 93 percent of the cards in issue in the UK.”

There were 1.59 billion contactless card transactions “in March, 5.9 percent more than in March 2023.”

Within this total:

  • The number of contactless debit card transactions (1.364 billion) was 5.3% higher than March 2023.
  • The number of contactless credit card transactions (225 million) was 9.3% higher than March 2023.
  • This means contactless payments accounted for 76% of all debit card transactions and 63% of all credit card transactions made during March 2024.
  • The total value of contactless transactions was £25.1 billion in March, a 10.2% increase compared to March 2023.
  • Total spending across all cards, including contactless, online and chip and pin was £75.8 billion and there was a total of 2.2 billion debit and credit card transactions made in the month.

Janine Randolph, Head of Data Management at UK Finance

“Contactless cards continue to be a very popular way of consumer spending, whether that’s using a physical card or through a mobile phone. There are over 150 million contactless cards now in issue and across these people spent over £25 billion on them in March alone.”

In other key updates, it was noted that UK Finance has also released its latest Business Finance Review which reports “on lending to, and deposits held by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the first quarter of 2024.”

Key findings:

  • Gross lending has increased again to the highest level since Q4 2022.
  • Most UK regions see growth in gross lending.
  • The number of finance approvals rises by over a quarter, with the value up by ten percent.
  • SMEs continue to run down deposits but still retain a significant savings buffer, ten% above pre-pandemic levels.

UK Finance data shows that further growth in business lending “from high street banks took place at the start of 2024, following an increase at the end of 2023.”

Q1 2024 saw a 15 percent increase “compared with the previous quarter. At just over £4 billion, this was eight percent higher than the same period in 2023.”

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