Value of contactless payments up nearly 50 per cent in 2022

17 February 2023
  • Contactless users made an average of 220 ‘touch and go’ transactions last year, totalling £3,327 per person
  •  A record 91.2 per cent of all eligible transactions were made using the technology
  •  Mobile contactless transactions above £100 jumped 109 per cent, accounting for 4.1 per cent of all contactless transactions by value
  • Northern Ireland and Scotland are the fastest growing regions for contactless usage
  • Data compiled from billions of Barclays debit and credit card transactions to provide a comprehensive view of the UK’s changing payment behaviours

The total value of all contactless payments jumped 49.7 per cent in 2022, as Brits embraced the £100 transaction limit and returned to high street shopping following the easing of all coronavirus restrictions.

New data from Barclays, which sees nearly half of the nation’s debit and credit card spending, reveals that a record 91.2 per cent of all eligible card transactions* were made using contactless payments last year – a sign that consumers and businesses are continuing to shift to next-generation technology when buying and selling.

The average contactless user made 220 ‘touch and go’ payments last year, up from 180 in 2021, with the average value per transaction rising 18.5 per cent to £15.13. Even when comparing 2022 against the contactless transactions made at the end of 2021, after the higher £100 limit had been introduced, transaction values were still 5.3 per cent up on 2021’s figures.

Growth in retail, hospitality and leisure

While all sectors saw an increase in the total value of contactless transactions, spending more than doubled in the hotels, resorts & accommodation category (+101.4 per cent). Meanwhile, there was also robust growth in electronics (+97.5 per cent), bars, pubs & clubs (+91.9 per cent), restaurants (+90.5 per cent) and clothing (+82.7 per cent).

The rise of mobile wallets

There was also rapid growth in the value of mobile wallet contactless payments over the £100 card limit. These payments accounted for 4.1 per cent of the total value of all contactless transactions last year, compared to 3 per cent the previous year. 

Christmas came early for contactless shopping

As UK shoppers rushed to complete their festive purchases, Friday 23 December was the busiest day for contactless shopping – the total value was 92.1 per cent higher than the daily average during 2022.

Silver Spenders

For the second year running, the fastest growth in contactless usage came from the over 65s, where the percentage of contactless users rose by 3.8 per cent. Across the UK, the regions with the largest increase in the share of contactless users were Northern Ireland (4.9 per cent), Scotland (4.8 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (2.8 per cent).

Adam Lishman, Head of Consumer Products at Barclays: “The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forwards last year. The higher £100 limit, introduced at the end of 2021, really made its mark as shoppers flooded back to high streets following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, leading to a surge in transactions. Brits are also becoming more comfortable making high-value contactless payments from their mobile, with these transactions accounting for an even greater share of total contactless spend.

“While check-out-free shopping is gradually becoming more prominent, thanks to improvements in mobile technology, in the short term it’s hard to see another payment method competing with contactless when it comes to both speed and ease.”

Notes to editors

Across its issuing and acquiring businesses, Barclays sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, which provides us with unique insight into UK consumer spending. This press release is based on consumer card spending data from Barclays’ issuing business – i.e. Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card transactions.

For more information, please contact Alejandra Quintela Sanchez at alejandra.quintelasanchez2@barclays.com  or on +44 (0) 7990 081 884.


Contactless Spend Growth in 2022 vs 2021

Overall Contactless Spend








Food & Drink Specialist








Furniture Stores


Home Improvements & DIY


General Retailers


General Retailers & Catalogues


Department Stores


Discount Stores


Specialist Retailers


Pharmacy, Health & Beauty


Sports & Outdoor


Other Specialist Retailers


Hospitality & Leisure


Digital Content & Subscription


Eating & Drinking


Bars, Pubs & Clubs




Takeaways and Fast Food


Other Food & Drink




Hotels, Resorts & Accommodation






Travel Agents


Public Transport


Other Travel








Other Services



About the data

This data used in this press release also includes contactless payments made via a mobile wallet (e.g. Apple Pay), which may not be subject to the £100 transaction limit for contactless-enabled credit and debit cards.

*Eligible transactions are defined as face-to-face / in-store transactions made with a debit or credit card, up to the value of the contactless limit.

**Only a very small proportion of transactions in these categories are made using contactless, and as such the growth is not representative.

A brief history of contactless payments:

  • 2007: Barclays pioneers contactless payments in the UK with the Barclaycard 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: The contactless payment limit rises from £15 to £20. Barclays introduces PayBand, the UK’s first wearable payment device
  • 2013: Annual contactless transactions reach £1bn for the first time
  • 2014: Barclays works 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: The spending limit per transaction rises from £20 to £30. Barclaycard creates the nation’s first payments fashion wearables
  • 2020: UK contactless limit increases from to £45
  • 2021: UK contactless limit increases to £100 on 15 October

About Barclays

Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website home.barclays.

About Barclays Market and Customer Insights

Barclays Market and Customer Insights helps businesses keep up to date with spending trends, monitors their market position and enhances their understanding of customer behaviour, based on actual customer spending. For further information, please email contact-MCI@barclays.com.