Visa Europe has revealed that consumers have clocked up 3bn contactless transactions in the last 12 months – nearly tripling that of the same period in the previous year. Figures show that European consumers used their cards 360m times in April, alone – that’s nearly 140 transactions per second and a 150 per cent increase from the 143 million transactions in April 2015 – with the average value rising 12 per cent to €13.83 (£10.93).
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 increase has been driven by new “everyday spend” merchants incorporating contactless into their check-out, enabling consumers to use contactless to pay for their lunches, lattes and more. In fact, said Visa Europe, restaurants have experienced the greatest year-on-year growth in contactless transactions (153 per cent), followed by general retail (146 per cent).
Today, there are more than 3.2m terminals used in stores and restaurants across the continent, up 23 per cent 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 cards, mobiles and wearables) by 2020.
Consumers in the UK, Poland and Spain use contactless the most. British contactless adoption grew by 300 per cent from 51m transactions in April 2015 to 153m 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 400m contactless journeys since launch. Additionally, the launch of Apple Pay and 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.
“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,” said Tristan Kirchner, executive director, product management at Visa 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.