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    2009 will be the year of contactless payments, says Visa Europe boss

    As he reported the payments company’s latest trading results in Brussels last week, Visa Europe’s chief executive confirmed innovation is key to the company’s plans for the coming year.

    VIEW FROM ABOVE: Visa Europe boss Peter Ayliffe says 2009 will be the year contactless payments take off

    VIEW FROM ABOVE: Visa Europe boss Peter Ayliffe says 2009 will be the year contactless payments take off

    “2009 will be the year of contactless payments,” Peter Ayliffe, chief executive of Visa Europe, told reporters gathered in Brussels to hear the company’s latest financial results last week.

    Visa Europe is spending around €10 million on helping retailers to adopt the new technology, reports EU news service EurActiv, and the vast majority of the devices will be distributed across the UK. Italy and Turkey are the other two front-runners, while pilot projects are in progress in France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Switzerland.

    Debit card transactions have seen particularly strong growth over the course of 2008, Ayliffe revealed. “The use of Visa debit cards at point of sale is up by almost 11% in Europe, and over 70% of spend is now on debit, proving that we’re actively displacing cash and cheques at tills,” he explained. “When consumers are managing their money, they have recognised that debit is the safer and more convenient alternative to cash.”

    “Innovations such as the Visa one time code card, Visa prepaid, Visa payWave contactless cards and mobile payment technology also demonstrated the company’s commitment to investing in the European payments industry, and provide consumers with more convenient and safer ways to pay,” the company says. “Over the last three years we invested on average €87 million every year on research and development of new products and technology.”

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