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Visa racks up 94 million UK contactless payments in 2013

Caroline Baldwin

The UK is the second highest adopter of Visa contactless payments in Europe.

More than 90 million purchases were made with Visa contactless cards in the UK in 2013, up from 25 million in 2012.

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Across the whole of Europe, 340.1 million contactless Visa purchases were made last year. Poland is the largest adopter, with 158.7 million purchases in 2013.

The number of contactless terminals in the UK has grown by 200%, with retailers including M&S, Waitrose, Starbucks, Costa, Co-Op, Lidl, McDonalds and Boots rolling out contactless terminals. Independent retailers have also contributed to the rise, taking the total number of terminals in the UK beyond 300,000.

In the UK, the average contactless Visa spend is £6.09, while across Europe this rises to €9.18, highlighting how contactless payments are used for everyday convenience items.

The top European markets to embrace Visa contactless payments in 2013

  • Poland (158.7 million purchases)
  • UK (94.3 million purchases)
  • Czech Republic (30.6 million purchases)
  • Slovakia (23.1 million purchases)
  • Spain (17.5 million purchases)

Londoners have also taken to contactless travel, with 10 million journeys on London buses being paid for using contactless Visa cards. From this summer, Transport for London will stop accepting cash, so customers will have to pay with either an Oyster card or a contactless credit or debit card.

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

These growth figures sit in line with WorldPay’s recent statistics that it too is seeing massive growth in contactless transactions.

The payment provider reported annual growth of over 226%, with the UK processing 43.6 million contactless payments in December 2013, up from 12.5 million the year before.


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