Around 20 million “tap and go” payments took place every day last year – meaning more than one in three card transactions is now contactless, figures from trade association UK Finance show.
It said contactless card spending surged by nearly a third in 2018 year-on-year.
Customers across the UK spent a total of £69 billion using contactless cards over the year, up by 31.8% compared with 2017.
Of this £58.4 billion was spent on debit cards and £10.6 billion was spent on credit cards.
Customers made a total of 7.4 billion transactions using contactless cards in 2018 – equating to 20 million a day.
This is a 31% upswing on the number of contactless transactions the previous year – meaning around 40% of card transactions in the UK is now contactless.
Contactless transactions on credit cards have seen a particular increase in popularity, UK Finance said.
Some 82 million of the 99 million debit cards currently in circulation now have contactless functionality.
In addition, 41 million of the 60 million credit cards in the UK are contactless.
UK Finance said the rising use of contactless was being driven by consumer preference and the growing acceptance among retailers and transport providers of the technology.
Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “Many of us are now reaching for our cards or mobiles rather than cash to make low-value purchases, as customers opt for the convenience and security of paying with contactless.
“There has also been an increase in credit card use although growth in outstanding balances has slowed, suggesting many consumers are using their cards for day-to-day spending rather than as a means of borrowing.”