ou could be forgiven for not noticing the increasing popularity of card payments – if you’ve spent the last 10 years living in a cave! The latest statistics from the UK Cards Association show that the use of credit and debit cards in the UK has more than doubled in the last 10 years, rising from 6.7 billion purchases in 2006 to 16.4 billion last year – that’s 518 card payments every second!

A major reason for the increase is the emergence of new payment technologies such as contactless, it may have taken a little while to catch on but with 1 in 4 card payments now being made via contactless, it’s clearly been embraced.

In the next few years we’ll see contactless technology being used in ever more creative ways, there’s currently a lot of hype around ‘wearable’ payment devices – sunglasses, jewellery, re-usable coffee cups – even Topshop have launched a range of contactless enabled wristbands, keyrings and stickers.

It’s all about convenience. Consumers, particularly the younger generation, expect to be offered these convenient new payment methods and in order to succeed, businesses must respond to their customers changing payment preferences. Industries with high, fast footfall, should all be offering contactless payments by now, or at least be thinking about it.

Festivals are a great example where a business can benefit massively from accepting contactless card payments. Festival goers want fast-moving queues and great customer service, contactless technology delivers on both. We recently assisted a merchant in this sector, a business that sets up and operates pop up bars and restaurants at festivals across the UK. Just a few weeks before they were due to attend Glastonbury last year they discovered their existing card machines were not compatible with the festivals WIFI network. With a limited timeframe to generate maximum return on investment, it’s critical that their payment solutions don’t fail them.

They turned to their Bank Manager who introduced them to one of our Senior Consultants, Chris Fairbanks – “Our independent ‘whole of market’ view, meant it was easy to find a solution for Camp Kerala, a couple of phone calls and we had found a way to overcome the WIFI issue. My main concern was the time restraints and setting up a new merchant account in a matter of days, thanks to our close relationship with the Acquirers we were able to expedite the application and get them up and running in time”

As advancements in technology continue to change customer expectations, businesses are realising the need to assess their payment strategies and are turning to their banks for advice and assistance. For a bank that doesn’t offer an in-house merchant service solution there must be an alternative and for many acceptcards is a great option – Independent payment consultants with one objective – to find your customers the right payment solution, at the right price.