The UK is the largest user of the contactless payment system in the whole of Europe, according to new figures released by Visa.
In the past twelve months over a billion individual payments have taken place as contactless transactions. This represents a value of Ä12.6 billion in total, which is a 300% increase on the previous twelve months.
Britain has carried out the most contactless payments in the last year and had 52.6 million individual transactions in March on its own.
These payments amounted to a total sum of Ä330 million. The next highest countries were Poland and the Czech Republic who had 49.7 million and 13.9 million payments respectively.
One of the main reasons for this rapid increase in contactless payments is the introduction of contactless card readers on public transport.
TFL now accept any contactless card in place of an oyster card, meaning these cards now offer their users a higher level of flexibility. The removal of cash payments on buses has also led to more people using contactless payments.
Recent data released by the UK Cards Association has supported this hypothesis by revealing that in December, 10% of contactless payments were used on London buses or other forms of public transport.
It is thought that contactless payment numbers could’ve been even higher if the limit for contactless payments was not set at £20. In September the new limit is going to be set at £30. The most common use of the contactless payment method was at restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores.
In Poland and the Czech Republic, people can spend as much as they would like using the contactless payment method. This means that these cards are often used to pay for other things such as their weekly food shop.
There currently 49.6 million of these contactless cards in the UK and a total of 131 million across the rest of Europe. Contactless payment machines number at around 2.5 million throughout Europe, with over half a million of those based in Spain. It is reported that 2020 will see all Visa pay points able to receive contactless payments.
The executive director of core products at Visa Europe, Sandra Alzetta, stated:
“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.”
“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.”