The latest figures from Visa Europe show that throughout 2013 Visa cardholders used their contactless cards to make more than 94.3 million purchases in the UK, simply by tapping their cards, compared to just under 25 million contactless purchases in 2012, showing that UK consumers are embracing the ease and speed of contactless payments.
Contactless purchases were not just up in the UK but across the whole of Europe, with Visa cards used to make a staggering 340.1 million contactless purchases across Europe last year.
The top five markets to embrace Visa contactless payments in Europe in the last 12 months:
• 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)
The number of contactless terminals has also risen by almost 200%, with both large retailers (including M&S, Waitrose, Starbucks, Costa, Co-Op, Lidl, McDonalds and Boots) and independent retailers making contactless payments available to customers. The total number of terminals has now reached over 300k.
The stats also show a massive 125% increase on the number of Visa contactless cards in circulation compared to December 2012. There are now 32.1 million Visa contactless cards in circulation in the UK with the European total reaching 80.6 million, a 158% increase on 2012. Every issuer in the UK now offers Visa contactless cards.
The average UK purchase value in 2013 was £6.09, which is comparable to the average lunch spend or small supermarket shop, highlighting that consumers have embraced contactless to make everyday shopping convenient. The average purchase value across Europe is €9.18 showing a similar trend of contactless being used for convenience shopping.
"We've seen impressive growth across the board on the amount of Visa contactless cards within the UK and the overall purchases and spend," comments Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director at Visa Europe. "Spend has risen to over £618 million in 2013, with £82 million being spent in December of last year alone."
Londoners have also taken to contactless travel with 10 million contactless journeys being made on London buses ade on London buses using Visa contactless cards.
"Use of contactless will rise even further in the UK with the arrival of contactless payments on the London Underground later this year," concludes Sandra. "We want to make smaller payments and purchases quick and convenient and UK consumers are clearly seeing that contactless can offer them just that.