Spending on contactless cards rose more than three-fold in 2015 to reach £7.75 billion, the latest data from The UK Cards Association reveals.

The new figures mean that total contactless spending in 2015 was more than double the preceding seven years combined. In 2014, £2.32 billion was spent using contactless.

There were a total of 1.05 billion contactless purchases in 2015, up 228 per cent on the previous year. Contactless spending was up 233 per cent on 2014.

Around half of all debit and credit cards are now contactless, with a total of 79.3 million cards featuring the technology.

The monthly data shows that contactless spending grew to £1.2 billion in December, a rise of 17 per cent on the previous month. There were 140 million contactless transactions in December – equivalent to 52 every second.

Graham Peacop, Chief Executive of The UK Cards Association, said:

“The swift increase in contactless usage continued apace last year, with nearly one in eight card transactions now using the technology. Whether it’s to stock up in the supermarket, travel to work, or buy your lunch, contactless is a fast, easy and secure way to make payments.

“With a contactless payment, you no longer have to fumble around for the loose change in your purse or wallet. You can simply pay using a contactless card or with your mobile phone.”

Recent figures from Transport for London (TfL) showed that more than one million journeys are now made on the network every day using contactless.

Shashi Verma, Director of Customer Experience at TfL, said:

“The popularity of contactless payments on London’s transport network is phenomenal. We’ve already seen more than 350m journeys made using contactless, using cards from more than 80 different countries. We were the first integrated transport authority to introduce contactless ticketing and, as other world cities look to replicate our successes, we will continue to work to help people benefit from the ease, speed and convenience that contactless payments provide.”

Across all debit and credit cards, total spending rose to £53 billion in December. Consumers preferred to use debit over credit for their Christmas shopping, with monthly spending of £37.6 billion and £15.4 billion respectively.

Total annual card spending reached £622 billion in 2015 from 13.4 billion transactions, up from respective figures of £574 billion and 12.0 billion in 2014.