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July 6, 2015

UK crowned Europe’s king of contactless payments

TfL roll-out helps drive adoption higher.

By Alexander Sword

The UK leads Europe in contactless payments, according to data from Visa Europe.

Europe as a whole saw 1 billion contactless payments made in the last 12 months, equating to a total spend of over €12.6 billion.

The UK has by far the most contactless cards at 49.6 million; France follows with 20.3 million cards while Poland takes third place with 14.5 million.

The UK also narrowly leads in the number of contactless terminals with 410,000, beating France with 405,000. In March alone, the UK saw 52.6 million transactions.

Transport for London’s roll-out of contactless was credited with helping to drive the UK’s high adoption rate, with more than 100 million contactless journeys made since launch. In the last 12 months, the number of contactless cards in the UK grew by 37 percent.

European consumers were most likely to use contactless for everyday purchases such as groceries, restaurant meals and convenience food and drink. Higher value payments were seen more in the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain.

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.

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"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."

Anthony Duffy, Director of Retail Banking in UK & Ireland at Fujitsu commented:

"The next phase in the development of contactless technology lies in growing both transaction volumes and values. In part, this will happen naturally, as user familiarity and confidence with the system grows, but it will also grow as the ceiling on payment values is raised.

"Perhaps the most significant impetus for growth will come from the payment option being "stretched" from plastic cards to mobile wallets and wearable technologies, which will further increase awareness of the payment option amongst existing and new users."

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