The coupling of the elastoplastic finite element and elastic boundary element methods for two-dimensional frictionless contact stress analysis is presented. Interface traction matching (boundary element approach), which involves the force terms in the finite element analysis being transformed to tractions, is chosen for the coupling method. The analysis at the contact region is performed by the finite element method, and the Lagrange multiplier approach is used to apply the contact constraints. Since the analyses of elastoplastic problems are non-linear and involve iterative solution, the reduced size of the final system of equations introduced by combining the two methods is very advantageous, especially for contact problems where the nature of the problem also involves an iterative scheme. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.