Visa Europe says 2015 will be a defining year for digital payments

Visa Europe will continue to spend hundreds of millions of euros to reduce the domination of cash payments in Europe

Visa Europe will continue to spend hundreds of millions of euros to reduce the domination of cash payments in Europe.

The payments business announced sales worth about €1.9bn for the financial year ended September 2014. This was a 9% increase on the previous year.

The company said it will invest in digital technologies to increase the number of payments it processes and described 2015 as “a defining year for digital payments".

Visa Europe CEO Nicolas Huss said the firm will continue to "eat away" at the 70% of transactions 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," he said. "And, most importantly, we will deliver an even better quality of service to retailers and consumers alike by making payment simpler, smarter and more secure than ever before.” 

According to Huss, Visa Europe invests more than €200m a year in new payments technologies.

The 2014 World Payments Report found that, in 2013, alternative payments increased globally by 9.4%. It also said that 800 billion non-cash payments will be made over the next 10 years.

UK financial services regulator the Financial Conduct Authority is planning to open up the payments sector to new companies to improve competition.

In April 2015, the Payment Systems Regulator will begin to regulate the £75tn-a-year payments industry, with plans to inject more competition into the sector. IT suppliers such as Apple and Google are also attempting to take a share of the payments market with payments technologies based on near-field communications.

The Apple Pay mobile wallet was launched to iPhone users in the US in October 2014 and was responsible for 1% of digital payments in the US in November 2014, according to a survey.

Google Wallet, which was launched in 2011, only accounted for 4% of payments in the same month, according to the ITG Mobile Payments report.

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