Visa today announced that it has processed one billion additional touch-free payments, where previously consumers would have needed to enter their PIN, as consumer confidence in contactless payments continues to grow. This milestone has been reached in less than a year since contactless payment limits were increased in 29 countries across Europe in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The growth of contactless payments has been a key trend during the pandemic, as touch-free payments have gone from being a convenience to a necessity for both consumers and retailers. Research from Visa shows that two-thirds (65%) of consumers globally would prefer to use contactless payments as much as, or more than, they are currently (Visa Back to Business Study 2021).
Charlotte Hogg, Chief Executive Officer, Europe at Visa, commented: “The demand for touch-free payments indicates that contactless has become the norm for European consumers and retailers. Contactless payments are popular because they combine speed and convenience with security. Indeed, contactless cards experience among the lowest fraud rates of any payment type and in countries where contactless payments are widely used, fraud at the point of sale remains at historic lows.
“Today’s milestone demonstrates how consumers and retailers now rely on digital solutions to make everyday payments. Enabling contactless payments will be key to Europe’s economic recovery and while raising contactless limits alone won’t revitalise the European economy, it is a step in the right direction, giving consumers the confidence to spend, and providing shops, restaurants and other retailers a boost just when they need it most.”
Growing demand for contactless transactions is evident across Europe, with over 80% of in-store Visa payments now contactless. In France and Germany, the number of contactless transactions has increased by two thirds and almost half respectively year-on-year. Of the one billion transactions, 400 million took place in the UK, and further growth can be expected given the announcement that the UK contactless limit will increase to £100 later this year.
The popularity of ecommerce is also surging across Europe, with over 15 countries experiencing a 40% or higher increase in ecommerce transactions in December 2020 versus the year before.