1 billion Visa contactless purchases made in last year

Visa Europe cardholders make 1 billion contactless payments in 12 months

  • 1.1 billion contactless transactions made by Visa cardholders across Europe in the last 12 months
  • More than €12.6 billion spent in total
  • More than 130 million Visa contactless cards are now in circulation in Europe
  • Visa’s contactless infrastructure is ready for the next generation of digital payments

London, 6 July 2015: There is no question that contactless payments are the new normal as consumers embrace the speed and convenience of touch-to-pay technology. The latest data from Visa Europe shows that uptake of contactless payments in Europe continues to climb with over one billion transactions made in the last 12 months. Figures also show that Visa cardholders spent €1.6 billion in the month of March 2015 alone - an astonishing three-fold increase when compared to the same period in 2014.

The UK leads Europe in Visa contactless cards issued while Spain is top of the league table with the number of terminals. The UK has 49.6 million cards and 410,000 terminals, followed closely by France (20.3 million cards, 405,000 terminals), Poland (14.5 million cards, 354,000 terminals) and Spain (11.5 million cards and 593,000 terminals). Contactless technology has been widely embraced by consumers, retailers and banks with usage growing rapidly. In the month of March 2015, the leading European market for Visa was the UK with 52.6 million transactions, followed by Poland (49.7 million) and the Czech Republic (13.9 million).

Across the continent, 131 million Visa contactless cards are carried in the pockets and purses of consumers and used regularly at over 2.6 million contactless terminals. By 2020 all Visa point-of-sale terminals in Europe will accept contactless payments. Currently, 240 banks across the continent already issue contactless Visa cards and the vast majority of Visa account holders will have access to a contactless payment device by 2020.

European consumers are most likely to use contactless for everyday purchases such as groceries, restaurant meals and convenience food and drink. The data reveals that consumers are also comfortable using contactless to pay for higher value items such as the weekly grocery shop in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain, where cardholders can use contactless to pay for any value by touching to pay and entering their PIN on the terminal.

Higher value contactless payments will continue to roll out at merchants across Europe, paving the way for mobile NFC payments, as banks and major companies launch mobile payment products throughout the rest of the year.

British consumers are by far the biggest adopters of Visa contactless cards, spending more than €330 million in March alone by touch-to-pay. The roll-out of contactless payments on all Transport for London (TfL) services is one reason for this accelerated growth of contactless in the UK, as there have been more than 100 million contactless journeys since launch (85 million of which have been using Visa cards). In the 12 months to March 2015, the number of contactless cards grew by more than 37% in the UK.

Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director of Core Products at Visa Europe said: “Contactless momentum continues to build as more and more people discover it’s often the quickest and most convenient way to pay for everyday things. Across Europe, usage levels have soared, with more than one billion contactless transactions made by Visa cardholders in the last 12 months alone. The popularity of contactless will only increase in future as we experience the next generation of digital payments, where the simplicity and convenience is extended to mobile and wearable NFC technology. We’re proud to have led the way in establishing contactless payments in Europe, and excited to be at the forefront as contactless payments become increasingly available to everyone.”

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 37 countries across Europe.

Visa Europe is at the heart of the payments ecosystem providing the services and infrastructure to 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 is also the largest transaction processor in Europe, responsible for processing more than 16 billion transactions annually – at a rate of 1,622 transactions per second at peak times.

There are more than 500 million Visa cards in Europe, while €1 in every €6 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. Total expenditure on Visa cards exceeds €2 trillion annually, with €1.5 trillion spent at point-of-sale.

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 in more than 200 countries and territories.

For more information, visit www.visaeurope.com and @VisaEuropeNews.