13 February 2016

MasterCard reports contactless surge; forecasts boom in mobile payments

08 April 2014  |  12573 views  |  7 SmartPass

MasterCard is expecting an uplift in contactless transactions to lead to a revolution in mobile payments, with the card scheme currently running 50 NFC pilots across Europe.

MasterCard says that contactless is now available in 63 countries worldwide, and in 34 countries in Europe including seven new countries in 2013: Azerbaijan, Finland, Ireland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and the Netherlands.

MasterCard and Maestro contactless cards or devices have been issued by more than 220 financial institutions in Europe and can be used at almost two million merchant locations worldwide, representing more than a 180% year-on-year increase. The card scheme says the number of contactless transactions across Europe have more than tripled and the volume spent on those transactions has increased four times year-on-year.

The figures chime with recent data from Visa Europe which recently reported a tripling in transactions over the past year as the number of terminals doubled, while Barclays in the UK says customers are now spending £6.6 million a day with a tap of their card.

Javier Perez, president, MasterCard Europe says: "The figures we share today showcase how contactless payment has reached mass market adoption in several countries. The move to contactless is also helping us continue to drive the use of mobile payments and by the end of Q4 2013, we had 50 mobile NFC programmes live in Europe."

Rival scheme Visa Europe also views contactless as a stepping stone to full-scale mobile payments. In January, it reported 62 mobile contactless projects now live or planned to launch across Europe. The card scheme says it is firmly on track to realise its prediction that 50% of Visa transactions will made be made through a mobile device by 2020.

Comments: (7)

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York | 08 April, 2014, 10:38

So obviously there is no demand for NFC or mobile payments...

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Anthony  Walton
Anthony Walton - Iliad Solutions - Leeds | 08 April, 2014, 10:49

Yep, and people will never enter a PIN into a POS device, and you will never stop people smoking in bars....

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Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - CloudZync - London | 08 April, 2014, 11:11

There is a massive difference between a contactless transaction and an NFC transaction carried out from a mobile phone.

Unfortunatley though these figures seem positive, they are a drop in the ocean. I strongly believe that mobile will be where we see busiensses move away from the card schemes, in search of innovative ways of adding value to a trasnaction while at the same time driving down merchant payment processing fees....

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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 08 April, 2014, 11:50

Contactless does not indeed mean NFC. QR and BLE are "contactless" too. MC (and VISA) have to sit on two chairs: legacy cards infrastructure and the next generation of payments based on, inter alia, EMV tokenization.

As for the latter, EMV is just one of the options as clearly demonstrated by the latest developments in the UK and elsewhere...

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Tony Chan
Tony Chan - Talaris - Sydney | 09 April, 2014, 06:09

Don't know what MasterCard would think about this post as the photo has a contactless reader with a Visa payWave logo... Maybe time for some interoperability between the two? :)

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Paul Love
Paul Love - Compass Plus - Nottingham | 09 April, 2014, 11:45

Two stories for the price of one, but this mixes proper good news with wishful thinking.

From personal experience contactless card acceptance and usage is indeed rising, it is quick and easy and works first time. 

Again from a personal perspective mobile NFC does not always work first time (on my Galaxy S3), and I only try it if I have a friendly merchant.

Mobile NFC mat well reach mainstream, but the contactless card already has - let’s celebrate that achievement.


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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 09 April, 2014, 14:59

Maybe contactless cards were around earlier but my first exposure to using them for making payments was in 2007. Not sure whether it's good or bad that it has taken 7 years for this form factor to reach the current level of adoption. But, one thing is clear: This is yet another example that reinforces John M Keynes's famous saying, "The market can stay irrational for longer than the trader can stay solvent". 

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