Over 94m contactless payments made in UK in 2013.

17 March 2014

Visa Europe has has revealed that contactless payments have increased dramatically in the UK and other nations in Europe, as consumers are becoming more comfortable with the payment technology.

In the UK, 94.3 million contactless transactions were carried out by consumers through the payment method, a rapid increase from the 25 million made in 2012.

According to Visa Europe, the figures indicate that UK consumers are embracing the ease and speed of making contactless payments.

Sandra Alzetta, executive director at Visa Europe, said that impressive growth of contactless purchases was witnessed in the UK, as the number of cards capable of contactless payments have been issued to consumers.

She noted: "Spend has risen to over £618 million in 2013, with £82 million being spent in December of last year alone.”

Much of the increase in uptake of the technology in the UK is down to those travelling around London, as ten million contactless journeys are being made on London buses using Visa contactless cards. This number is set to increase in 2014, as buses have gone cash-free.

“Use of contactless will rise even further in the UK with the arrival of contactless payments on the London Underground later this year. We want to make smaller payments and purchases quick and convenient and UK consumers are clearly seeing that contactless can offer them just that," Ms Alzetta concluded.

The number of contactless terminals has also risen by almost 200 per cent, with both large retailers (including M&S, Waitrose, Starbucks, Costa, Co-Op, Lidl, McDonalds and Boots) and independent retailers making contactless payments available to customers. The total number of terminals has now reached over 300,000, making contactless payments even easier to use.

The payment processing firm revealed that it is not just the UK that has embraced contactless payments, with Visa cards used to make 340.1 million contactless purchases through 2013.

Poland was revealed as the leading market for the payment method, with 158.7 million purchases made, pushing the UK into the second spot. The top five nations in Europe were rounded out by the Czech Republic (30.6 million purchases), Slovakia (23.1 million) and Spain (17.5 million purchases).

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