Just over nine in 10 (91.2%) card transactions made last year for which contactless payment would have been an option used this technology, according to Barclays data.
The bank said this is the highest ratio it has seen, with 85.6% of eligible card transactions being contactless in 2021.
Transactions eligible to be contactless were those made face-to-face or in-store, up to the value of the contactless card limit, which is currently £100.
“Silver spenders” are helping drive contactless use. Barclays said the fastest growth in contactless usage it has seen is among the 65+ age group.
In 2022, 82.6% of cardholders aged 65 and older were using contactless, up from 78.8% in 2021, according to Barclays data.
Across all age groups, contactless users made an average of 220 “tap and play” transactions last year, up from 180 in 2021.
On average, people spent £15.13 last year when making a contactless transaction.
The bank analyzed consumer data from Barclays debit cards and Barclaycard credit card transactions to make the findings.
In its issuance and acquisition businesses, Barclays said it receives almost half of the country’s credit and debit card transactions.
Hotels, bars, pubs, clubs, the electronics sector and clothing retailers are among the sectors that saw particularly large jumps in contactless spending in 2022, compared with 2021, Barclays found.
As UK shoppers scrambled to complete their Christmas shopping last year, December 23 was the busiest day for contactless shopping, with total value 92.1% higher than the daily average during 2022.
Adam Lishman, head of consumer products at Barclays, said: “The popularity of contactless payments took another leap forward last year.
“The higher limit of £100, introduced at the end of 2021, really made its mark as shoppers returned to the high streets following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, leading to a spike in transactions. Brits are also more comfortable making high-value contactless payments from their mobile phone, and these transactions account for an even larger share of total contactless spend.”
The findings came when the Nationwide Building Society said the value of credit card payments and debt payments was 13% higher in January compared to 12 months ago.
The value of air travel spend by Nationwide members increased 68% compared to January 2022, while vacation spend increased 43% over the same period.
Overall, the value of non-essential expenses fell 11% per month in January, while essential expenses such as household bills, transportation and grocery shopping rose 2% per month, according to Nationwide.
Nationwide’s monthly spending report analyzed nearly 215 million debit card, credit card and direct debit transactions made by society members in January 2023.
Mark Nalder, Nationwide Building Society director of payment performance and strategy, said: “Despite concerns, the nation is preparing for warmer weather and an area of non-essential spending where there has been a significant increase in January are vacations and travel as people look to plan ahead and set aside some time away from home this year.”