Retailers are being encouraged to sign up to contactless payment services such as Tap and Go ahead of the lead up to the Christmas shopping boom.

Contactless payment transaction have been steadily increasing this year, with more retailers and consumers adopting the technology, and usage is forecast to spike in December, according to credit card company Mastercard.

Contactless transaction use, first introduced into the New Zealand market in 2014, is most popular with wholesalers, hospitality outlets and retailers.

Peter Chisnall, Mastercard country manager for the New Zealand and Pacific Islands, said it was gearing up for a busy month of transactions in December.

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"Around Christmas time the quicker and smoother the transaction process is the better - for both consumers and retailers," Chisnall said. "

"Contactless payments are convenient, fast and widely used, which means faster queues and less holiday shopping stress for customers and retailers."

Last December contactless payment use rose significantly.

Mastercard recorded the biggest increases in glassware - up more than 200 per cent, household appliances, up 98 per cent, and home furnishings, up 95 per cent.

"Department store spending was also up 63 per cent in December, with people using these stores to shop for a range of items," Chisnall said. "We also saw spikes in things like electronics - up 86 per cent from November and December - and women's clothing - up 56 per cent."

Retail NZ is estimating Kiwis will spend a record $17.4 billion this Christmas, with online spending likely to peak in November.

Last year Kiwis spent almost $6b in electronic card transactions in December alone, up 6.6 per cent from the previous year. Electronic payments company Paymark recorded the total value of transactions for the month at $5936.8b.

The highest spend overall for December last year was in the Auckland-Northland region, recorded at $2.4b.

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