Contactless cards more popular than cheques for payments

Contactless cards had overtaken cheques as a payment method for the first time in the UK.

According to figures from analysts Mintel, cheques had been used by 31 per cent of UK citizens in the three months to April, which was less than the corresponding figures for contactless debit cards, used by 39 per cent, and contactless credit cards (34 per cent).

The cards had seen increasing use since last year, while the use of cheque books had fallen.

Cash, however, ruled as the most popular payment method with 97 per cent using it for payments.

According to Rich Shepherd, financial services analyst at Mintel, contactless cards had become more widely accepted.

"They've moved beyond coffee shops and sandwich bars and are now entirely commonplace," reported.

Contactless cards were first launched in 2007 however, payment habits had changed slowly, he added, as shown by "the cheque's stubborn refusal to disappear".

According to figures from the UK Cards Association, contact-less payments accounted for 18 per cent of sales in the first half of 2016 increasing 7 per cent from the year before.

Only 28 per cent of consumers used a contact-less debit card to make a payment last year, which rose to 39 per cent this year, while the use of contact-less credit cards had risen from 28 per cent last year to 34 per cent.

But 54 per cent of consumers were not quite keen on society going completely cashless.

Shepherd said, "Part of the reason for the rapid increase in the use of contactless cards is the simple fact that they are now much more widely accepted. They've moved beyond coffee shops and sandwich bars and are now entirely commonplace.

"However, the real shift in behaviour has only come over the last few years. It's easy to forget that contactless cards were first launched back in 2007, meaning that the technology has been on British high streets for almost a decade.

"People's payment habits change slowly, as can be seen with the cheque's stubborn refusal to disappear from the payments landscape."