Jewellers braced for contactless payment revolution

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 23:  A chip and pin debit console is seen on 23 February, 2006, in Manchester, England. In the wake of  Britain's biggest cash robbery, taking at least GBP25 million in cash, many experts have questioned the need for hard cash with the advent of chip and pin and debit cards and predict a future cashless society. (Photo Illustration  by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Jewellery retailers could see a major shift in the way that customers pay for their goods in future after data revealed that overall spending on contactless cards in the first half of 2016 has already outstripped contactless spending for the whole of 2015.

While providers typically cap the value of contactless payment per transaction – which restricts the chances of this method of payment being used for jewellery purchases over a certain price – it is expected that the capped amounts will increase as the technology becomes more widely used.

Some £9.27 billion was spent using contactless methods between January and June of this year, which dwarfs the total contactless spend of £7.75 billion for 2015.

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There were 1.1 billion contactless transactions in the first half of the year, compared to 1.05 billion for the whole of 2015, according to The UK Cards Association.

Contactless card payments accounted for 18% of total purchases in June, the latest monthly card expenditure statistics show. This is in contrast to the June 2015 figure of 7%.

Figures for the jewellery sector specifically show that 601,611 purchases were made using card in June 2016, compared to 635,982 in the same month last year.

Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association, said: “Contactless cards are firmly entrenched as the preferred way to pay for millions of consumers, who expect to be able to use them for everyday purchases.”

Payment card spending reached £53.1 billion in June, £400m more than in May. Both spending and the number of payments increased in the second quarter of the year, with 92 million more purchases and £1.9 billion more spending than in the first quarter of 2016.

The number of card payments within the retail sector increased by 5.2 million to 799 million, with the corresponding spend increasing by £134 m to £25 billion.

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