Visa contactless cards issued expected to reach 12 million in the UK by end of 2010

Number of Visa contactless cards issued now passes 8 million mark

London – 5 July 2010 – The number of Visa contactless cards in use in the UK is expected to reach twelve million by the end of 2010 according to Visa Europe, who is leading the way in the adoption of contactless technology.

The number of Visa contactless cards currently in circulation has passed the eight million mark in June and this will continue to climb in 2010 as more banks introduce the functionality on their customers’ Visa cards. This landmark follows the rise in the contactless transaction limit from £10 to £15 earlier in the year.

Contactless is a feature that can be incorporated onto debit, credit and prepaid cards that allows customers to pay for everyday items at point-of-sale simply by holding their card over a wireless reader without the need to enter a PIN*. For retailers, contactless helps save money in terms of cash handling and operating costs and reducing the amount of cash on site also offers improved security and risk management. Transactions take place in less than a second giving retailers and consumers speed and convenience without the need of handing cash.

Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe, commented: “Since its launch in 2007, contactless technology has grown in popularity and is fast becoming an everyday way to pay. This is demonstrated by the fact that the average value transaction is currently £4.30, showing that people are more and more confident, and keen, to use cards for smaller amounts rather than carrying cash. Consumers are becoming increasingly familiar and confident with the technology as the number of retailers accepting contactless continues to grow. In the last six months we have seen an increase of 100% in transaction volumes and we expect several more high street retailers to confirm plans to launch contactless in their shops during the rest of 2010”.

Currently cardholders can use a contactless card to pay for items at many high street retailers including Subway, Pret A Manger, EAT, Caffe Nero, AMT Coffee, Boots (selected outlets), Yo Sushi, selected SPAR outlets, Ikea and the National Trust; as well as a variety of independent convenience stores. Other retailers are continuing to sign-up to receive contactless payments and a full list can be found at There are currently over 26,000 enabled locations and this is growing each day.

To help consumers recognise when a Visa card or device is contactless-enabled the “wave” indicator shown on figure 1 will be featured on such products. Merchants will also display the contactless symbol, shown on figure 2, and the Visa Brand Mark shown in figure 3.


Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3:
Wave symbol Contactless symbol Visa Brand Mark



Note to editors

* The card is fitted with a security measure of an aggregate limit for contactless transactions, which is automatically re-set once your PIN is entered. Periodically cardholders will be asked for their PIN to ensure that the card remains with the genuine owner.

About Visa in the UK

In the UK, Visa is the leading debit card with over 71 million debit cards issued. In the 12 months ending December 2009, these cards were used to make 4.2 billion purchases. In the same period, there were 612 million purchase transactions on Visa UK credit cards. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance and purchase protection at millions of retail locations worldwide.

Visa Europe is a membership association that is the leading European payments system, developing innovative products and technologies to benefit its 4,000 member banks and their customers (cardholders and retailers). In October 2007, Visa Europe became independent of the new global Visa Inc., with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe.

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Contact details:
Visa Europe press office
Tel: +44 (0)20 7795 5336