The volume of contactless payments in Europe is forecast to rise almost nine-fold to 12.2bn in 2020 compared to 2014 and account for 13% of all card payments, according to research released by RBR. The number of contactless cards issued is also expected to treble from 2014 to just short of 700m by 2020 — representing more than 40% of the total regional card base.
The ‘Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2020’ study reveals there were 223m contactless cards in issue in Europe at the end of 2014, up 65% compared to 2013 and representing 15% of all payment cards. At the end of 2014, no contactless cards had been issued in Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway or Sweden, whilst more than 60% of all cards in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia were contactless.
“The success of contactless in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is linked to the quick and co-ordinated efforts of banks in terms of both issuing and acquiring,” RBR says. “In Poland meanwhile, card schemes have made particularly strong efforts to promote contactless cards which, coupled with a consumer base open to testing new technologies, has led to widespread issuance and acceptance of such cards.”
According to the research, there were 1.4bn contactless payments worth €15bn made in Europe in 2014, rises of 155% and 190% respectively compared to 2013. There were also 2.5m contactless-enabled terminals across Europe by the end of 2014.
“RBR believes that contactless will continue to spread throughout the region aided by the card schemes’ mandates for terminals to be capable of accepting contactless transactions,” RBR adds. “At some stage there will be a tipping point, after which the movement to contactless will be extremely quick. That point has not quite been reached, but it is becoming closer all the time.”