Wallets lighter with contactless payments on the rise

Nearly one in ten Britons no longer carry any loose change in their wallet regularly as 'tap and go' contactless payments technology has grown in popularity, a survey has found.

More and more people are using contactless payment. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
More and more people are using contactless payment. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Some 9 per cent of people surveyed for Nationwide Current Accounts do not carry any coins in their wallet – with one in seven (14 per cent) men saying this compared with one in 25 (4 per cent) women.

Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of people said that other than regular bills, they usually pay for items using their card or contactless technology.

In September 2015, the transaction limit for a single payment using a contactless card was increased by £10 to £30, making it an increasingly handy alternative to cash.

A recent report from Payments UK predicted that debit cards are set to overtake cash to be the UK’s most frequently used payment method by 2021.

But despite new ways to pay, Nationwide’s survey also found cash is often still the best option in some situations.

One in three (33 per cent) people have had to pay with cash on occasion because cards were not accepted or technology was not working.

Asked how often they take cash from an ATM, 40 per cent said they do so weekly, 22 per cent do so fortnightly and 18 per cent do so monthly.

Researchers also found women are more likely to carry reward cards, money off vouchers, receipts and stamps in their wallet than men.

Some 2 per cent of people across the survey also said they carry PINs in their wallet – which could make them an easier target for fraudsters if their PIN and their corresponding card are being kept together.

One in 12 (8 per cent) carry a plaster with them, while one in 20 (5 per cent) keep phone numbers handy in their wallet.

The bulk of people surveyed tend to carry two bank cards in their wallet, with 35 per cent doing so, while 32 per cent carry one card and one in nine (11 per cent) carry four cards or more.

Some 2,000 people from across the UK took part in the survey.

However, Leigh Sparks, professor of retail studies at the University of Stirling, said that whilst contactless payments were seen as very convenient by some consumers, there are still many occasions when coinage seems a good option.

“Contactless payments don’t suit everyone. There are times when having coins in your pocket is useful, such as car parking, even though you can pay by phone, or vending machines for snacks. It will take time for people to change the way they think about it.

“Then there are retailers who have to think about price points and are unlikely to change to rounded prices all round.

“Finally, there is the privacy aspect with some people not liking the idea of being under surveillance all the time, which wouldn’t happen if they pay in cash.”