More than one billion contactless transactions worth in excess of €12.6bn have been made by Visa cardholders across Europe in the past 12 months, research from Visa Europe has found, with its customers spending €1.6bn using their contactless cards in March 2015 alone — a three-fold increase compared to the same month in 2014.
The UK leads the way for the number of Visa contactless cards issued with 49.6m, followed by France (20.3m), Poland (14.5m) and Spain (11.5m). The volume of contactless-enabled terminals is highest in Spain with 593,000, followed by the UK with 410,000, France with 405,000 and Poland with 354,000. Across the continent, 131m Visa contactless cards are in circulation with more than 2.6m contactless terminals in place.
British consumers spent more than €330m in March alone, using contactless cards to make 52.6m transactions, making them the biggest adopters of the technology. In the same month there were 49.7m contactless transactions made in Poland followed by the Czech Republic, which recorded 13.9m.
“The roll-out of contactless payments on all Transport for London (TfL) services is one reason for this accelerated growth of contactless in the UK, as there have been more than 100m contactless journeys since launch — 85m of which have been using Visa cards,” the payment network says. “In the 12 months to March 2015, the number of contactless cards grew by more than 37% in the UK.
“By 2020, all Visa point-of-sale terminals in Europe will accept contactless payments; currently, 240 banks across the continent already issue contactless Visa cards. European consumers are most likely to use contactless for everyday purchases such as groceries, restaurant meals and convenience food and drink.
“The data reveals that consumers are also comfortable using contactless for higher-value items such as the weekly grocery shop in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain, where cardholders can use contactless to pay for any value by touching to pay and entering their PIN on the terminal.”
“Contactless momentum continues to build as more and more people discover it’s often the quickest and most convenient way to pay for everyday things,” says Sandra Alzetta, executive director at Visa Europe.
“Across Europe, usage levels have soared, with more than one billion contactless transactions made by Visa cardholders in the last 12 months alone.
“The popularity of contactless will only increase in future as we experience the next generation of digital payments, where the simplicity and convenience is extended to mobile and wearable NFC technology.
“We’re proud to have led the way in establishing contactless payments in Europe and excited to be at the forefront as contactless payments become increasingly available to everyone.”