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With many UK businesses re-opening their doors for the first time since lockdown, data from Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly 40% of all transactions in the UK, sheds light on the UK’s economic recovery.

The data in this release represents UK spending through Barclaycard’s payments processing systems (e.g. Barclaycard card machines in stores as well as online payments), regardless of card type or issuer.

In early signs of growth, by last week an additional 60% of Barclaycard’s customers had returned to trading and taking payments compared to the first week of April, as lockdown restrictions continued to ease. Compared to the week commencing 7th June – just before shops reopened – this figure shows a 12% increase in active customers.

With more business open, Barclaycard also saw an 8 per cent increase in the total number of transactions compared to the week commencing 7th June, with many consumers taking advantage of their first opportunity to shop for the non-essential items they had been missing during lockdown.

This also led to an increase in contactless transactions, with Barclaycard Payments processing 10% more contactless transactions than the week before.

Since the introduction of the new £45 contactless limit in the UK, Barclaycard Payments has processed almost 40,700,000 contactless transactions above the previous limit of £30 – helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus by allowing more people to pay without using cash or handling a card machine. The total value of these new contactless transactions above £30 is over £1.4 billion.

In further reasons to be optimistic, the total value of transactions processed also grew by 6 per cent compared to the previous week. When looking at the value taken specifically in-store, this figure increases to 12%.

Small and medium businesses in particular benefitted from being able to open back up, experiencing a twelve per cent increase in the total volume of transactions, and a 9% increase in the total value processed.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “It’s extremely heartening to witness the spike in activity that took place last week, and with some retailers still to open some or all of their stores, we expect sales volumes to continue to rise over the coming weeks.

“The ability of UK businesses to adapt and grow as they emerge from lockdown is a testament to how dedicated and resilient they are. It will be interesting to watch whether the measures they took to boost income during lockdown, such as turning to social media to increase sales, will become a permanent part of their business models from now on.”