Home Page ContentPress Releases Barclaycard enables up to 7 million additional people to pay using contactless, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

Barclaycard enables up to 7 million additional people to pay using contactless, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

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Barclaycard enables up to 7 million additional people to pay using contactless, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19


  • Credit Payment 2

  • Since the new £45/€50 contactless limit was introduced, the average value of all contactless transactions has jumped from £9.28 to just under £14
  • The total amount spent on contactless transactions over £30 already exceeds £264 million
  • 43 per cent of in-store transactions between £30/€30 and £45/€50 are now made using contactless
  • Barclaycard has a long history of payments innovation in the UK, launching the UK’s first contactless payments card in 2007

Less than a month since the introduction of the new £45/€50 contactless limit in the UK and Ireland, Barclaycard, which handles half of all contactless transactions in the UK*, has processed over 7 million contactless payments above the previous limit of £30/€30, and up to the new £45/€50 limit.

This means that up to 7 million additional cardholders have been able to use contactless to make in-store payments, helping to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The higher limit helps prevent the spread of the virus by allowing more shoppers to pay without touching card terminals or handling cash. It also helps reduce the volume of people in stores by reducing queue times – contactless transactions are, on average, seven seconds faster than Chip and PIN, and 15 seconds faster than cash.

Barclaycard data also reveals that 43 per cent of in-store transactions between £30/€30 and £45/€50 are now made using contactless. This is expected to increase as public awareness of the new limit grows, and as more businesses implement the technology change on their card machines.

Deployment of the new limit is being prioritised for retailers in key sectors, including grocery & supermarket stores, bakeries, pharmacies and petrol service stations. Barclaycard will be supporting the deployment of the higher contactless limit to other sectors in due course.

The new limit has led the average value of contactless transactions to jump from £9.28 in 2019, to just under £14 today. The average value of all new contactless transactions above the previous limit of £30 is just under £36. The total amount spent using contactless on transactions over £30 is already over £264 million.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments said: “We want to play our part in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so we are delighted to have reached 7 million transactions so quickly. We would like to thank our clients both large and small for working with us to make the required changes, and for promoting the new limits to consumers. This rapid adoption would not have been possible without them. We believe that contactless is the safest, fastest and most responsible way to pay in store, and we encourage all consumers to take advantage of the new higher limit where possible.”

* Base source UK Finance


A brief history of contactless payments

  • 2007: Barclaycard pioneers contactless payments in the UK with the OnePulse card, which could be used to pay at c22,000 payment terminals across the TfL network and in c6,000 retailers. The spending limit per transaction is initially set at £10.
  • 2010: The Contactless payment limit increases from £10 to £15.
  • 2011: The first mobile payment device enters the UK as Barclaycard and Orange join forces to launch Quick Tap, which lets users make payments by tapping their phone on a contactless payment reader.
  • 2012: Barclaycard introduces PayBand, the UK’s first wearable payment device and also PayTag – a sticker less than a third the size of a credit card that sticks securely to the back of a mobile phone, turning it instantly into a contactless Barclaycard. The contactless payment limit also rises from £15 to £20 and contactless can also been used to pay for travel on London’s 8,500 buses.
  • 2013: Annual contactless transactions reach £1bn for the first time.
  • 2014: Barclaycard worked with TfL on the second phase of introducing contactless to London’s travel network by aiding the evolution of the yellow Oyster card readers to enable them to read contactless cards.
  • 2015: Barclaycard creates the nation’s first payments fashion wearables. The spending limit per transaction rises from £20 to £30.
  • 2019: Barclaycard processed 1 in 2 UK contactless transactions
  • 2020: UK and ROI contactless limit increases from £30/€30 to £45/€50.


About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit. In the UK we process nearly £1 in every £3 spent using credit and debit cards, and in 2019 we processed over £272bn in transactions globally. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.


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