Contactless ‘in-touch with wary consumers’ — cash ‘faring poorly’

CONTACTLESS spending could soon account for 47 percent of all transactions, according to research carried out by the Centre of Retail Research (CRR).

It examined the pandemic’s effect on payment methods. Pre-pandemic, 37 percent of all UK transactions were chip and pin; only 17 percent were contactless. Chip and pin could decline to 25 percent by the end of 2022.

Contactless payment with smartphone
Photo: HLundgaard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 30 percent increase in contactless was accelerated by changing consumer and retailer behaviour; cards are more hygienic. Some retailers stopped accepting cash altogether, and the contactless limit increased from £30 to £45. Next year, cards are expected to account for 72 percent of all transactions.

Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at, said Covid-19 had forever changed the way consumers spend. “With exponential increases in online orders during the pandemic, combined with increased contactless limits and retailers implementing cash bans, people have quickly adapted to contactless payments,” she said.

“It remains to be seen whether the government will amend laws relating to legal tender, enabling retailers to permanently refuse to accept cash if they wish.”