The number of contactless payment transactions has skyrocketed over the last 12 months

Contactless payments hit 3 billion mark across EU

The latest annual figures for contactless payment use, issued by Visa Europe, show that over three billion contactless transactions were made across Europe in the last 12 months.

This figure is a triple-fold increase over the previous 12-month period. Over 360 million transactions were made in April 2016 alone, equating to 140 transactions per second. The UK, Spain and Poland are the three heaviest users of contactless systems, with Transport for London’s adoption of the tap-and-go payment technology for Underground and bus travel in the UK capital cited as a key factor for the explosion in use. Over 400 million contactless journeys have been made since the launch of the technology on the travel network.

The launch of mobile contactless payment services, such as Apple Pay and Barclaycard’s bPay, has also encouraged consumers to explore their payment options for low-value transactions, e.g. under £30 in the UK.

The figures from Visa show that British contactless adoption grew by 300 per cent, from 51 million transactions in April 2015 to 153 million in April 2016, and that one in five Visa-processed card payments are now contactless.

Restaurants in particular have proved a beneficiary of contactless payment, with year-on-year growth of 253 per cent. Supermarkets (219 per cent) and fast food outlets also saw huge growth (196 per cent).

Tristan Kirchner, executive director for product management at Visa Europe, said, “The last 12 months has seen contactless payment 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.”

Contactless payment technology came under fire from Which? Magazine in 2015 for being easy to hack, with credit card numbers easily acquired using cheap hacking technology during a test.

E&T magazine also investigated the future for contactless payment systems at its early stages of rollout.

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