Visa Europe is accelerating the growth of digital payments by investing over €200m in new payment technologies.
The announcement comes after a record number of transaction volumes were reported in 2014, including a 9 per cent growth year-on-year to €1.9bn and profits of €344m which is €80m higher than 2013. Also, for the first time, the amount spent at point-of-sale reached €1.5 trillion, a rise of 9.4 per cent from 2013.
As digital payment technologies such as contactless become more widely used, Visa said that there were a total of 37 billion transactions using its cards last year from the 500 million Visa cards in circulation in Europe, one fifth of which are contactless. Figures from last year also show that including ATM transactions, over €2 trillion was accessed through Visa cards.
Nicholas Huss, chief executive of Visa Europe, believes 2015 will be a defining year for digital payments. "We will further eat away at the 70 percent of transactions that are still settled in cash in Europe. We will make use of the abundance of digital technology that now surrounds us to enable new digital payment solutions," said Huss.
Visa Europe is based in Britain and is owned and operated by member banks and other service providers around Europe. Visa Europe is independent of American-based Visa Inc. but works in partnership with it to allow payments.
In December, after a lengthy battle with Visa and MasterCard, European Union governments agreed to cap the fees retailers pay to process debit and credit card transactions. Huss said that it’s time to move on from the debate about fees and onto something more constructive, such as the need for retailers to use savings from regulation on improving consumer payments.
“Regulation is coming on interchange fees and the European Commission estimates that this regulation will bring savings of around €6 billion to European retailers. At Visa Europe, we’re investing more than €200m a year in new payments technologies. If retailers invest just a fraction of their savings, we can truly work together to make a leap forward in improving the consumer experience,” said Huss.
By Nicole Miskelly, bobsguide Lead Journalist