Contactless spending passed £1.5bn for the first time in March – and it’s not just the younger generation who are using it.

The number of over 60s using ‘touch and go’ payments has risen by 116% in the past 12 months, new data has revealed.

Usage among other age groups is also increasing, but not quite as quickly because the number of users is already high.

According to Barclaycard’s latest Contactless Spending Index, usage among those aged 18 to 24 has gone up by 49%.

The number of 26 to 45-year-olds using contactless has increased by 65% and there has been a 97% increase among 46 to 60-year-olds.

The nation’s ‘silver spenders’ are anything but laggards when it comes to adopting new payments technology

Adam Herson, product director, Barclaycard
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Barclaycard’s research shows that contactless spending is increasing faster in Manchester than in any other UK city, with Glasgow, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Blackpool also seeing large increases.

It also shows a 431% surge in contactless transactions made in discount stores, a 261% increase in gift card and novelty stores and a 245% climb in service stations.

Adam Herson, product director at Barclaycard, said: “Our data released today shows that the nation’s ‘silver spenders’ are anything but laggards when it comes to adopting new payments technology.

The number of contactless payments at service stations has increased by 245% in 12 months. Image by JuliusKielaitis/Shutterstock.com

“Contactless provides a number of benefits – it’s quicker, easier and allows transactions up to £30 to be made securely without a PIN – so it’s not surprising that it’s fast becoming a favourite way among the over 60s.

“Whether we’re stocking up on a few essentials on the way home from work, filling the car with fuel, or ordering a round of drinks in a busy bar on a Friday night, every second counts for today’s busy shopper.

“We expect this upward trend in contactless spending to continue to go from strength to strength throughout the rest of 2016.”

Barclaycard’s findings come as figures from the UK Cards Association show that monthly contactless spending reached £1.5bn for the first time in March.

The milestone arrived just four months after contactless spending hit £1bn for the first time in November.

There were a total of 179.6m contactless purchases in March and one in six card purchases made on the high street are now contactless. 

There are a total of 86.5m contactless cards in circulation in the UK.

Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: “It took almost eight years for monthly contactless spending to reach half a billion pounds – now it’s grown by the same amount in just four months.

“This dramatic rise shows that paying with contactless is now second nature for millions of consumers who see it as an alternative to cash. 

“Contactless cards are already being used to pay for travel and to donate to charity and as the technology evolves, we will see even more environments where contactless will enable fast, easy and secure payments.”