Contactless card payment has been growing in popularity at an accelerated rate according to new figures from the UK Card Association, with UK transactions in 2016 so far already exceeding the whole of last year.

The new figures revealed that there were 1.1bn contactless transactions in the first half of the year, compared with 1.05bn for the full year in 2015. Contactless spending amounted to £9.27bn across the UK from January to June compared with £7.75bn the whole of 2015.

In June 2016 there was 92.1m contactless cards in issue in the UK, an increase of 2.5% on the previous month, and 33.5% over the year. Contactless now accounts for 18% of card spending, up from 7% in the previous year, while the average contactless transaction amounts to £8.60.

Scott Underwood, head of solutions at managed IT service provider Niu Solutions commented: “Last year, we saw contactless cards increase the spend limit per transaction from £20 to £30, making it even more convenient and faster for consumers to pay for their shopping. This is not only good news for consumers, who expect varied methods of payments, but for retailers too. The more that customers are encouraged to use electronic payments, the more opportunity retailers will have to collect valuable customer data.

“Retailers need to work closely with their IT solutions provider to make sure they have access to the tools and systems they need to collect and analyse customer data. This data-led approach can also help to combat ‘basket cannibalisation’, which occurs when retailers are unable to track in-store purchases unless a loyalty card is used.”