Europeans “touched to pay” three billion times in the last 12 months

Cementing contactless payments’ growing popularity

  • 1-in-5 in-person Visa-processed card payments are now contactless.
  • 3 billion contatless transactions made using Visa cards and devices across Europe between 1 May 2015 and 30 April 2016.
  • 165 million Visa contactless cards and 3.2 million POS terminals are now in active in Europe.

London, 11 May 2016: Contactless payments in Europe passed a major milestone today as Visa Europe announced three billion contactless transactions were made in the last 12 months – nearly tripling that of the same period in the previous year. Figures show that European consumers used their cards 360 million times in April, alone – that’s nearly 140 transactions per second and a 150% increase from the 143 million transactions in April 2015 – with the average value rising 12% to €13.83.

Contactless payments as a proportion of all Visa-processed face-to-face payments have risen from 1-in-60 in 2013 to more than 1-in-5 today. The popularity of this fast way to pay has been driven by new “everyday spend” merchants incorporating contactless into their check-out. Consumers have been using contactless to pay for their lunches, lattes and much more, with restaurants experiencing the greatest year-on-year growth in contactless transactions (153%), followed by general retail (146Today, there are more than 3.2 million terminals used in stores and restaurants across the continent, up 23% from 2.6 million at the end of April 2015. This rate will continue to accelerate as most new payment terminals deployed across Europe from January this year are contactless-enabled, helping merchants achieve the target of all terminals in Europe accepting contactless payments by 2020. Visa Europe is working with banks and other partners to give consumers access to at least one contactless payment device (including card, mobile, wearable, etc.) by 2020.

Consumers in the Poland, Spain and the UK use contactless the most. British contactless adoption grew by 300% from 51 million transactions in April 2015 to 153 million in April 2016. The continued success of contactless commuting on Transport for London services is one reason for this accelerated growth, as there have been more than 400 million contactless journeys since launch (nearly 9 in 10 of which have been using Visa cards). Additionally, the launches of mobile payment service, Apple Pay, as well as the Barclaycard’s bPay solutions, have encouraged consumers to adopt new ways to pay. Some of the most popular contactless merchants in the UK include Tesco, The Co-Operative, Transport for London, McDonald’s and Marks & Spencer.

Tristan Kirchner, Executive Director, Product Management at Visa Europe said: “The last 12 months has seen contactless payments continue its extraordinary growth as this quick and convenient form of payment reaches more consumers and merchants throughout Europe. This kind of success hasn’t happened overnight, and it’s down to the sterling efforts across many teams at Visa and the wider payment industry making today’s achievement possible while setting the stage for tomorrow’s technology, including new wearable devices and mobile payment services.”

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 38 countries.

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 18 billion transactions annually.

There are more than 500m 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.

Visa Europe is an independent business with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence to use the Visa brand in Europe. Visa Europe works in partnership with Visa Inc. to enable global Visa payments in more than 200 countries and territories.

For more information, visit our website (www.visaeurope.com), the Visa Vision blog (vision.visaeurope.com), and @VisaEuropeNews