Europe to see nine-fold rise in contactless payments by 2020

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 10 December 2015
Europe to see nine-fold rise in contactless payments by 2020

Europe is expected to witness a nine-fold rise in contactless payment volume by 2020 compared to 2014, according to an RBR study.

RBR’s Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2020 report showed that there were 223 million contactless cards in issue in Europe in 2014 – amounting to 15% of all cards – which was a 65% rise from 2013. This is forecast to treble to just short of 700 million cards, representing more than 40% of the total regional card base by 2020.

In total, contactless cards were used for 1.4 billion payments worth €15 billion in Europe in 2014, an increase of 155% and 190% respectively compared to 2013. However, contactless transactions still represented just 2% of the overall volume of card payments in the region and 0.5% of their value. By 2020, it is expected that 13% of all card payments will be contactless, driven by increased consumer familiarity with technology and promotional industry campaigns.

RBR also predicted that the rollout of contactless cards and adoption of contactless-enabled terminals – which reached 2.5 million across Europe at the end of 2014 - will accelerate over the next few years as new Visa and MasterCard mandates come into force. These include requirements that new POS terminals should be capable of accepting contactless transactions by the beginning of 2016, and that all existing terminals should be contactless by the start of 2020.

Growth will also be driven by the fact that the interchange fee for contactless cards is lower than for other payment cards in many European countries. This will encourage some retailers to sign up to accept cards for the first time and persuade others to replace older terminals.

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