Contactless card payments on the rise in Europe

Contactless cards are fast gaining traction in Europe, with Visa Europe reporting that three billion contactless transactions were made in the past 12 months-nearly triple the total from the previous year.

The group’s data also shows that European consumers used their cards for 360m ‘tap and go’ payments in April alone – a 150% increase from the 143m transactions in April 2015 – with the average value per transaction rising by 12% to €13.83.

Contactless payments as a proportion of all Visa-processed face-to-face payments have risen from one in 60 in 2013 to more than one in five today.

Visa reports that consumers in the UK, Poland and Spain are the keenest users of contactless where customers do not need to give their signature or enter a personal identity number (PIN). In the UK, where the limit for a contactless payment that can be made in a single transaction was increased by £10 to £30 in September 2015, there were 153m contactless transactions last month – a 2005 increase from 51m in April 2015.

Around 165m Visa contactless cards and 3.2m payment terminals are now active across Europe, up 23% from 2.6m at the end of April 2015. Visa said that restaurants have seen a particularly strong growth in contactless transactions, with retailers, supermarkets and fast food outlets also seeing major increases.

The fast rate of growth is set to continue as most new payment terminals deployed across Europe from January have been contactless-enabled, helping merchants achieve the target of all terminals in Europe accepting contactless payments by 2020.


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