Most (77%) UK consumers have made a contactless payment in the last year, with over 19 million (37%) now saying contactless is their first-choice payment method for purchases under £30, according to new research, commissioned by GoCompare Money.

The research reveals that 77% of people (40 million) have made a contactless payment in the last 12 months. Slightly surprisingly, it is the 35 to 54 age group who are largely driving the payment revolution as they are currently the most likely to favour contactless over other forms of payment.

Payment method Age group
All adults 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Contactless payment  37.2% 33% 36% 42% 45% 33% 33%
Cash  36.6% 44% 41% 34% 31% 40% 34%
Debit card with PIN  16.1% 21% 17% 15% 15% 15% 16%
Credit card with PIN  10.0% 3% 6% 9% 10% 12% 16%

The survey also revealed what methods were most popular, with contactless cards (75%) topping the list, while other methods including smartphones, key fobs and wearable technology such as watches and wristbands were used by 13% of people.

73% of people claim convenience is the main reason for using contactless payments.  Other reasons given include a dislike of carrying cash (19%) and, using chip and PIN cards.  One in ten contactless payment users admitted to finding it difficult to remember their PINs and passwords while 13% said they don’t like having to input PINs or card details when making a purchase.  17% of people favour contactless payments because it means they always have a way of paying for items.

Fewer than a quarter (23%) of people taking part in the research hadn’t made a contactless payment in the last 12 months, many of whom are worried about the risk of fraud (54%).  Fear of the unknown also appears to put some of these people off; 37% found the whole idea of going contactless scary, while 29% consider contactless smartphone payments intimidating.  One in ten were concerned contactless payments would make them lose track of their spending.

However, for some people (18%) it was a straightforward case where they hadn’t been provided with a contactless-enabled card from their bank or credit card supplier.

Commenting on the research, Martyn John, from GoCompare Money said, “From cash to cards, smartphones to wearable devices – we’ve never had greater choice in the way we can pay.  In the last decade, contactless payment technology has transformed the way we make payments, so much so, many people don’t feel the need to carry cash.”

“While contactless payments are now the norm for many people, the fear of fraud remains a big issue for some.”