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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.

Karen Johnson, head of retail at Barclays, said: “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.”

However, campaigners hit back at Ms Johnson’s claims, 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.” 

Mr 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 3pc of those aged over 75 prefer using a smartphone to a physical card, the report found. 

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