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Visa Europe, RBS and NatWest launch contactless payments

Over two million RBS and NatWest customers will receive Visa contactless cards in 2013

London, 5th February, 2013: Visa Europe today announced that contactless cards will be rolled out to RBS and NatWest cardholders in the UK. Over two million eligible RBS and NatWest customers will receive a contactless card over the next year as part of the bank’s ongoing commitment to innovation and customer service.

Mark Austin, Vice President - Contactless at Visa Europe said: “We’re delighted to announce that RBS and NatWest will be rolling out Visa contactless cards in 2013. Many major merchants like Marks & Spencer, the Post Office and London’s buses are now accepting contactless payment as the service becomes a high street reality. We are expecting to see contactless transaction volumes quadruple in 2013 as momentum in this exciting space continues to grow.”

Steve Rubenstein, Director of Everyday Banking at NatWest and RBS said: “Contactless payments will offer our customers speed and convenience for low value payments, making their day-to-day shopping experience much easier, with all the security and protection of any Visa product.”

Today there are almost 30 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK and around 50 million in Europe. Contactless payments are accepted at more than 150,000 terminals in the UK and a total of 590,000 across Europe. By the end of 2013, there will be more than 70 million Visa contactless cards in use across Europe.

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 36 countries across Europe.

Visa Europe works at the forefront of technology to create the services and infrastructure which enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees.

Visa Europe operates a high volume, low cost business model that provides services to its members. Its surplus is reinvested into the business and used to improve capital and reserves. In the last six years, Visa Europe has invested over €1 billion in new technology and infrastructure.

There are 466m Visa cards in Europe while €1 in every €6.75 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. Almost 80% of Visa Europe's business is on debit cards and, in the year to September 2012, over €1 trillion (€1.02bn) was spent on Visa debit cards. Annual online spending on Visa cards in Europe topped €200 billion (€202bn) for the first time in this period and now accounts for more than 20% of Visa Europe’s processed business.

Since 2004, Visa Europe has been independent of Visa Inc. and incorporated in the UK, with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. Both companies work in partnership to enable global Visa payments. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments.

For more information, please visit www.visaeurope.com

About the RBS Group

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group is an international banking and financial services company. From its headquarters in Edinburgh, the RBS Group operates in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Asia, serving over 30 million customers worldwide.

The RBS Group provides a wide range of products and services to personal, commercial, large corporate and institutional customers through its two principal subsidiaries, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and National Westminster Bank Plc, as well as through a number of other well-known brands including Citizens, Charter One, Ulster Bank, Coutts and Direct Line.

For more information please visit www.rbs.com.