• UK’s top cashless locations reveal North-South divide

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    Southend-on-Sea has knocked Bristol off of top spot for number one location for contactless payments in the UK in 2019.

    That’s according to data from Paymentsense, which has analysed 305 million transactions across the whole of 2019 to reveal the nation’s spending habits, looking at the places which are set to become cashless the fastest.

    Key findings include:

    • Twickenham was the second location with the most contactless transactions
    • Within the capital, the east of London tapped the most, with 75% of all transactions made on contactless
    • All of the top 10 contactless locations are in the South of the UK

    The top 10 locations for contactless card payments across last year were:

    1. Southend-on-Sea
    2. Twickenham
    3. Kingston-upon-Thames
    4. Uxbridge
    5. Jersey
    6. Bristol
    7. Cardiff
    8. Leeds
    9. Harrow
    10. Enfield

    Southend’s population and its touring visitors are well and truly cashless consumers, with a whopping 78% of all transactions being made through a contactless card. Given the location, which hosts an airport where many fly into to travel into London, as well as tourists that may visit the seaside, Paymentsense says it’s perhaps less surprising that Southend took the top spot for percentage of transactions made with contactless cards.

    Yanis Zisis, Head of Digital at Paymentsense, said: “For non-UK visitors flying into Southend to visit London, they will want to avoid carrying around cash in different currencies, especially when it is so convenient to pay without exchange fees on a contactless card. Businesses operating in regions which have a high percentage of tourists or overseas visitors will understand that offering customers the opportunity to pay on a card, at pace will often make or break a sale, especially when competition is so high.”

    The data shows that all of the top 10 locations using contactless are situated in the south of the country – Leeds was the only northern city to make it into the top 20. Cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield all fall behind in the list.

    Paymentsense speculates that perhaps culturally attitudes towards cash differ between the North and the South – however, the demand for card payments is not dwindling and it could widen the economic gap between the two regions. In fact, it was reported by Link that in the first six months of 2019 alone over 1,200 ATMs were shut down across the country.

    Paymentsense’s data also shows an 8% increase in contactless payments from the previous year, jumping rapidly from 62% to 70%, suggesting that the UK is edging closer to a becoming a cashless society.

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