Industry News

Europeans Hit Three Billion Contactless Transactions

The popularity “touch to pay” has increased threefold on the previous 12 months, Visa Europe has lauded customers for embracing the new technology.

contactless transaction taking place at a card machine

The popularity of contactless payments has continued to rise with Europeans leading the way, opting to “touch to pay” three billion times in just one year. A threefold increase on the previous 12 months, Visa Europe has lauded customers for embracing the new technology available.

Driven by the ease at which low-value payments can be made, contactless card payments are expected to continue to rise and expand. A fifth of all payments processed by Visa are now contactless, with 3.2 million POS terminals equipped with the technology around the continent.

Contactless Payments Driven by Visa

Visa Europe has been at the very heart of contactless technology and has been credited with being one of the driving forces behind the success on the continent. The biggest European transaction processor, Visa Europe deals with in excess of 18 billion transactions every year.

Tristan Kirchner, the Executive Director at Visa Europe described the “extraordinary growth” which has been seen within contactless payments. Acknowledging that such a sweeping change doesn’t suddenly occur overnight, he attributes the success to both the teams within Visa and the wider payment industry for making the technology viable by remaining focused and flexible.

Every year more than €2 trillion is spent on Visa cards, with €1.5 trillion spent in person.

Customers Switching to Contactless Payments

Although Visa may have been one of the driving forces behind the move to contactless technology, it’s fair to say that it’s being rapidly embraced by the public. From just one in 60 transactions being contactless in 2013, increasing to a fifth of all transactions being contactless in 2016, the swing has been meteoric.

The rocketing popularity of contactless payments shows no signs of slowing, with 140 transactions per second. Many of these transactions are low value, such as grabbing lunch in a supermarket or paying for a latte, making it one of the most convenient ways to pay while on the go.

Restaurants have experienced the biggest increase in the use of contactless payments, followed by the retail industry. With the “everyday spend” items being the most popular for contactless card payments, the number of terminals equipped with the technology has certainly helped.

Nearly all new terminals will be enabled to accept contactless payments, with customers expecting to be able to take advantage of the latest technology with their card.

Access for consumers

While the uptake of contactless technology has been widespread across the whole of Europe, there are some countries that have been particularly enthusiastic about the change. Spain, the UK and Poland are the three nations which have seen the biggest rise in contactless payments, with a 300% hike being recorded in the UK.

The backing of Transport for London has been a major factor in the rise of contactless technology with 400 million journeys paid for via this method, nine out of ten of which were Visa. Other top outlets for contactless spending include Marks and Spencer, McDonald’s, The Co-Operative and Tesco.

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