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The top 20 merchants on the rise of contactless payments

16 May 2017 Data Insights

Despite customers across the UK often experiencing ‘sorry, we don’t take contactless’ apologies at the till, it’s clear that tap-to-pay is on the rise.

According to the contactless statistics for 2016 from the UK Cards Association, over 21 million contactless cards were issued in the UK, with the total contactless spend reaching over £25bn.

Furthermore, a Paymentsense report recently revealed a clear rise in contactless payments across a variety of merchants between October 2016 and March 2017. Some merchants even achieved a month-on-month increase throughout the period. This was calculated by utilising the comprehensive pool of customer data, which records the amount of transactions their merchants have accepted by card, and how many by contactless payments.

The results were convincing – across the board, merchants had seen their contactless card reader sales increase more than their chip & PIN transactions. This would suggest that the need to provide contactless is now paramount for all merchants. By looking even closer at the data, and more specifically at the sum total of contactless payments across key industries, it’s possible to identify possible leaders in the rise of contactless payments.


Type of merchant Sum of contactless transactions
Oct 2016 – March 2017
Bakeries 62.5%
Pubs & bars 48.2%
Caterers 47.8%
Takeaway Restaurants 45.5%
Newsdealers & Newstands 44.9%
Restaurants 42.7%
Confectioners 39.9%
Gift shops 33.5%
Retail 27.8%
Pet shops and pet supplies 27.3%
Dry cleaners 25.8%
Musical  stores and musical instruments 23.8%
Sporting good shops 17.6%
Hotels, motels and resorts 16.4%
Florists 13.4%
Antique shops 10.5%
Jewellery stores 9.1%
Dentists, orthodontists 8.1%
Furniture, home furnishings 7.9%
Taxis and private hire 4.6%

Combining these findings with a report from UK Card Associations that shows contactless payment spend during the first two months of 2017 experienced a 169% YoY increase from £2,425 to £6,530bn, the message is much more positive, and loud and clear.

Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense added: “It’s not just the bakeries, bars and fast food establishments which need to embrace contactless. The indication is that even if businesses don’t fall into one of the ‘Top 20’ categories, they’re losing potential sales by not taking contactless payments and should embrace contactless before they get left behind.”

“We believe that card machines for small businesses should not lack functionality. That’s why all our card machines come with contactless as standard.”

Countertop, Portable or Mobile? Not sure which one is best for your business? Read our guide on how to choose the right card machine for your business.

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