16 February 2015

Contactless payment: what it is and how it works

Contactless payment is rising in popularity, according to the UK Cards Association*. With the contactless transaction limit rising to £30 in October 2015, we look at the growth of contactless, how it works and where it’s headed in the future.

What is contactless, and why use it?

First introduced to the UK in 2007, contactless card payment is a payment method where you hold your debit or credit card against a reader, rather than inserting it and entering in your PIN. As with a regular card payment, your account is then debited for the amount. 

You'll need a contactless-enabled card to pay this way. If your card is contactless it should show the contactless icon (it looks a bit like a Wi-fi symbol) printed on the front to one side. At the moment, you can pay up to £20 with contactless. Our video highlights some of the reasons more and more people are choosing contactless.

But is contactless safe?

In October 2014 alone there were more than 38 million contactless transactions in the UK, valued at just under £297 million*. Despite its rising popularity, the UK Cards Association found just 0.007% of contactless spending in the first 6 months of 2014 to be fraudulent.

So, what’s next for contactless?

Contactless is currently available on debit, credit and pre-paid cards, but is set to be rolled out on mobile phones, wristbands and watches in the not-so-distant future.

* Figures provided by UK Cards Association based on number of contactless transactions January 2011 - October 2014.

The content displayed on our recent news and articles page is for information purposes only, and is accurate at the time of publication. The information will not be maintained, and so we cannot guarantee that at any given time the information will be up to date or complete. Please verify any information you take before relying on it.

Nationwide is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites. Nationwide does not make any recommendation or endorse any advertising, products, services or other content on such external websites. Views expressed on third party websites are those of the public and unless specifically stated, are not those of Nationwide.

Most popular

Your Black Friday survival guide

11.11.16

Black Friday tips and tricks to take the stress out of your Christmas shopping so that you can concentrate on finding the perfect presents.

You may also be interested in...

Our helpful guides

We've created a range of helpful guides to help you make better financial decisions regardless of your circumstances. Find out more about owning property, growing wealth and planning for life events.

Our products

Whether you are after a current account, a savings account or even looking for a mortgage, Nationwide has a range of great products that could help you, no matter the situation.