Payment Methods

Contactless Card Usage In Europe Exploding

Contactless card payment usage in Europe continues to explode as more and more merchants accept this form of payment, according to a new study by consulting firm RBR.

In a report dubbed “Global Payment Cards Data and Forecast,” the firm found that one in five card payments will be contactless by 2021. That’s an increase from one in 20 as of 2015.

The study shows that Europe is continuing to lead the growth in terms of contactless payment card issuance and usage. At the end of 2015, there were 346 million contactless cards in Europe, up 41 percent from the year earlier. Growth in usage increased threefold to 3.7 billion during the year, noted the report.

What’s more, RBR found contactless card acceptance is increasing at a faster clip than contactless cards are being issued. Last year, the number of contactless-enabled terminals in Europe increased 63 percent to reach 4.9 million. Currently, contactless payments can be made at 30 percent of terminals in Europe. Because of the fact that a lot of transport networks in Europe and big-name retailers accept contactless payments, consumers are getting much more used to the payment method.

Going forward, RBR said moves on the part of governments around Europe to promote contactless payments as a means to reduce the reliance on cash will help further the adoption of contactless payments. It doesn’t hurt that Visa and Mastercard mandates require all EFTPOS terminals in Europe to be able to support contactless payments by 2020. That, RBR said, will result in better geographic coverage and inclusion of additional merchant sectors in the contactless payment world.

“Half of all European cards will be contactless by 2021, and RBR forecasts the volume of contactless payments will rise more than sixfold between 2015 and 2021 to almost 25 billion, equivalent to 22 percent of all payments on European cards.”



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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