Visa has 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
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.
“This 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 e-commerce is also surging across Europe, with over 15 countries experiencing a 40% or higher increase in e-commerce transactions in December 2020 versus the year before
With many businesses having to operate under restrictions and keep up with changing consumer behaviour, merchants are increasingly moving to online operations and embracing digital and contactless payments. Visa is working closely with its clients and partners to digitally enable over eight million small businesses across Europe, helping them adapt to enable customers to shop the way they want.
Contactless remains one of the most popular and secure payment methods for Visa customers and will be crucial to Europe’s economic recovery when restrictions lift and shops reopen.