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Contactless Can Boost EU Mobile Payments

A new study suggests that while the contactless card has struggled to take hold as a popular payment method, the technology is likely to bridge consumers to use mobile payments more frequently across Europe.

UK-based data tank RBR released its findings on the state of contactless and mobile payments in its report, “Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts 2013-2019.” Among its findings, RBR predicts that paying for low-cost purchases by a contactless card is a significant stepping stone for mobile payments to take off across Europe.

RBR’s data show the UK as the largest current market contactless card purchases, making up more than 25 percent of Europe’s total. But the technology has penetrated deepest in Poland and Slovakia, RBR says, where more than half of all cards issued are contactless.

Unsurprisingly, Visa and MasterCard dominate the contactless card market. Visa holds the top spot with processing 63 percent of the volume of purchases made via contactless cards in central and eastern Europe, and 57 percent of the volume of purchases in western Europe. MasterCard PayPass, Maestro PayPass and Amex ExpressPay hold most of the remaining market, the research found.

The research also explored the implications of the state of contactless cards across Europe on the growth of mobile payments. While RBR says experts see the technology as a stepping stone towards a mobile payments boom in certain nations, in others – like Germany and Belgium – consumers are likely to bypass the contactless card altogether in favor of paying with their smartphones.

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