Contactless payment adoption explodes in Europe as UK leads the charge

The number of contactless payments in Europe has nearly tripled during the last 12 months with three billion transactions being made, according to Visa Europe.

Furthermore, European consumers used their cards 360 million times in April alone, equating to nearly 140 transactions per second and a 150 per cent increased from April 2015 (143 million). The average value also increased by 12 per cent to €13.83.

The popularity of contactless payments has been driven by “everyday spend” merchants adopting contactless technology, as shown by the 153 per cent year-on-year growth of contactless transactions in restaurants. This is followed by general retail (146 per cent), supermarkets (119 per cent) and other food and drink outlets including fast food (96 per cent).

Poland, Spain and the UK are currently leading this new contactless revolution, with British adoption exploding from 51 million transactions in April 2015 to 153 million in April 2016 - a 300 per cent increase. The launch of big-name mobile payment services such as Apple Pay and Barclaycard bPay has encouraged this adoption in the UK, along with adoption from big-name merchants such as 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.”

Anthony Duffy, Director of Retail Banking, UK and Ireland, Fujitsu commented: “The news that Visa has recorded three billion contactless payments in the last year is great for the contactless payments industry, but it should come as no surprise. Here in Britain, contactless payments have been growing rapidly over recent months - the annual growth rate for the number of purchases has continued to outstrip the value of money spent, demonstrating a consumer preference to use contactless payments over other forms of payment.

“At Fujitsu, we expect to see contactless transactions continue to grow, with some transactions migrating from card to mobile. We also expect to see further interest in wearable technologies. We will be watching with interest, to see how much further progress contactless transactions will make over the second seven years of the technology’s life.”

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