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Sandwiches and Booze Driving the Surge in U.K. Tap and Pay

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Workers grabbing lunch on the go, and paying for drinks at the bar are behind a surge in mobile contactless payments. 

According to Worldpay’s analysis of consumer spending patterns, the total number of contactless transactions where a mobile device was used reached 38 million by the end of 2016 with the total amount spent topping £288 million.

The number of mobile transactions as a percentage of all in-store transactions has grown by 247% in the past year, with a notable lift-off in adoption following the launch of Android Pay in September.

Lunchtime ‘Meal Deal’ hotspots, including supermarkets and grocery stores accounted for 54% of all mobile tap and pay transactions processed by Worldpay in 2016, while pubs, bars and restaurants made up 20% of the total. It’s not just light bites post work pints that are driving mobile contactless spending however, with 9% of transactions taking place in the pharmacy and beauty sector.

Londoners set the pace in terms of adoption of the technology, with 32% of all transactions taking place within the M25. Shoppers in the South East accounted for 14% of total spend on contactless enabled mobile devices, while the East of England and the North West each made up 8% of the total number of mobile tap and pay transactions processed by Worldpay.

Contactless spending on mobile devices peaked in December, when the amount spent using NFC enabled smartphones topped £51 million. And although the volume of in-store payments remains a small fraction of the total (1.18%*), adoption rates suggest the technology is quickly gaining a foothold in the ‘tap and pay’ market.

Spending on all forms of contactless systems now accounts for 28% of all non-cash transactions in the UK, with total spend exceeding £10bn for the year in 2016. In December alone, Worldpay processed over £1.5bn* in contactless payments with shoppers spending an average of £10.39 per transaction.

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