Mobile payments in Europe gather momentum

80 million contactless cards lay the foundation for commercial mobile payments rollouts

24 February 2014: Working with its partners, Visa has doubled the availability of mobile payment services across Europe in the past 12 months. Mobile payments are now available nationwide in several markets across Europe.

Reflecting the move towards consumers being able to pay simply wherever they are, with whatever device they choose, Visa has partnered with players across the mobile and payment industries to offer consumers a choice of secure, state-of-the-art services to help them pay, be paid and manage their money.

Highlights of the last twelve months include:

  • Europe’s largest commercial mobile contactless payments service confirmed to launch in Spain via Caixabank, Vodafone, Orange and Telefonica in Spain
  • The successful launch of Vodafone’s SmartPass mobile payments app – the first service for its mWallet - in Spain and Germany, with the UK and Netherlands due to launch from spring 2014
  • Orange Cash avec Visa launching in France, making mobile contactless payments available to Orange customers
  • Millions of credit card users in Turkey gaining access to NFC payments through Visa Europe’s work with Garanti Bank and Turkcell
  • A new partnership with Telecom Italia, which will lead to the launch of exciting new mobile payment services across the Italian market, later this year
  • 100% increase in the number of merchants signing up for Chip and PIN mPOS, bringing the total number of merchants to over 30,000 across 18 markets

To deliver these and more services Visa works with mobile network operators, banks, retailers, hardware manufacturers and software providers to drive the availability and uptake of mobile payment services around the world.

Mary Carol Harris, Director of Mobile for Visa Europe, said: “Today across Europe consumers have access to a wide range of mobile services. We’ve worked alongside an incredible set of partners to double the availability of mobile payment services across Europe. We are already seeing mobile payment services gain traction in the UK, for example with the integration of Visa Personal Payments into the RBS group mobile banking app, which has 2.7 million active users. Mobile payments can’t be delivered by just one company: it’s about creating the technology and also about having the scale to implement it. We sit at the heart of the new ecosystem, allowing our partners to bring mobile payments to life.”

Christian Wirtz, Vodafone Group mCommerce Director, said: “We have successfully launched Vodafone Smartpass mobile payments app, the first service for our mWallet, in Germany and Spain, and expect to rollout to the UK and the Netherlands from this spring. We are delighted to see mobile payments gaining momentum across Europe and we are excited to see what the future holds for our partnership with Visa to put mobile payments services in the hands of our customers.”

Helping pave the way for the transition to mobile contactless payments, contactless card use and the supporting infrastructure has grown rapidly. Visa contactless payments are now available in twice as many European countries as this time last year, with almost 80 million Visa contactless cards and 1.3 million terminals. The number of national brands and smaller retailers accepting contactless also continues to grow at a very strong pace.

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 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. It is not a credit card company, almost 80% of its business is on debit cards, and 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 470m 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 December 2012, over €1 trillion (1.05tr) was spent on Visa debit cards. Annual online spending on Visa cards in Europe topped €200 billion (€212bn) 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 and follow us on Twitter: @VisaEuropeNews.