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    Contactless payment rises as campaigners warn against scams

    Photo: iStock

    Most in-store card transactions (93.4 per cent ) up to £100 were made using contactless payments rather than customers typing their Pin into a card reader in 2023, a recent report has stated highlighting the rise in use by older people aged between 85 and 95 as campaigners say that rapid digitisation of payments risks leaving older people vulnerable to scams.

    According to Barclays bank, nearly one in five people can no longer remember their bank Pin to withdraw cash or make transactions as the use of “contactless” payments hit a record high last year. 

    The popularity of smartphone payments means that more than a fifth of youngsters aged between 18 and 34 now leave their wallet at home when going out shopping, according to the pol of 2,000 consumers. 

    While young people have led the charge towards a cashless society, it appears older people are being dragged along as the percentage of those aged between 85 and 95 using contactless rose above 80 per cent for the first time in 2023. For the third year running, the fastest growing segment for contactless usage was the over 65s.

    Reacting at report figures, campaigners are arguing that the increasing digitisation of payments risked leaving some older people vulnerable to scams and others cut off from cashless businesses. 

    Martin Quinn, campaign director of the Payment Choice Alliance, said, “My worry is that older people could be open to fraud by forgetting Pin numbers and relying on contactless transactions. With limits now at £100 they could become victims of scammers, and could face massive losses before they even realise the money is gone.” 

    Quinn added, “Older consumers also like to pay using cash, they like the certainty of what they have spent and speaking to the staff… and of course you can leave a tip in cash.”

    Just 3 per cent of those aged over 75 prefer using a smartphone to a physical card, the report found. 

    Contactless technology was first introduced by Barclaycard 17 years ago and had a spending limit of £10. The limit was increased substantially during the pandemic, when businesses wanted to reduce physical contact in shops, rising to its current £100 limit in 2021.

    The Telegraph quoted Karen Johnson, head of retail at Barclays, as saying, “Since we introduced contactless payments to the UK in 2007, it has become the UK’s favourite payment method, thanks to its speed and convenience.

    “Given the growing number of cashless businesses, I’m pleased to see that many older shoppers are embracing ‘touch and go’, and that the gap in contactless usage between age demographics continues to narrow.”

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