Contactless payments in Europe increase by 46 percent in first quarter

credit-card-finance2Contactless payments in Europe rose by 46 percent in the first quarter to reach approximately 19 million transactions, with the U.K. leading the trend.

“Customers have cards, lots of businesses have the technology and all our research suggests that customers are going to want to use it: over the past ten years, since the launch of chip and PIN, customers have become increasingly used to relying on their debit card in all kinds of situations, so making it an option for low value transactions as an alternative to cash is the final part of the jigsaw,” Jemma Smith, the head of communications and education at the Payments Council, said.

U.K. contactless payments comprised 5.3 million of the 19 million total contactless transactions.

“Many of the best UK credit cards have had contactless technology inbuilt for a number of years, but obviously it requires a critical mass of retailers, especially influential retailers, to adopt the technology before people are happy to switch – perhaps that’s why the UK is leading the European contactless charge,” a spokesperson for, a U.K.-based credit card comparison site, said. “Most people travelling around London will have used an Oyster card and using contactless payment for shopping isn’t really a huge leap from that.”

Visa Europe said it expects contactless payments to grow even faster by the end of the year to reach 50 million per month. Anne Van Schrader, the head of contactless and mobile NFC at Visa Europe, said, however, that it has taken some time for contactless payments to become more commonplace.

“We’ve been building the contactless ecosystems across Europe since 2007, so it’s fantastic to see consumers recognize its value,” Van Schrader said.

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