Contactless cards achieved a breakthrough in Europe in 2014, as the number of payments grew by 155% – a figure which is forecast to continue to soar over the next few years.
Visa is by far the largest scheme in the region for contactless payments.
MasterCard PayPass is strong in several developing markets
RBR’s study, Global Payments Cards Data and Forecasts to 2020, shows that Visa payWave had a 61% share of the 1.4 billion contactless payments in the region in 2014. MasterCard (including Maestro) PayPass accounts for the vast majority of the remainder. However, whilst Visa payWave is the largest scheme in several developed contactless card markets, including Poland and the UK, MasterCard PayPass accounts for the highest proportion of payments in a number of growing but as yet relatively underdeveloped countries across the region. These include the Netherlands, where all contactless cards are MasterCard, and Russia, where the number of contactless payments is forecast to rise 65-fold between 2014 and 2020.
Other schemes account for a tiny proportion of contactless payments
The RBR study shows that other schemes combined make up less than 2% of contactless payments. In Germany, Girogo, the domestic contactless scheme issued predominantly by co-operative and savings banks, accounts for 62% of contactless card payments. Amex ExpressPay is issued in a few countries, including Greece, Turkey and the UK. With the exception of Turkey, where it was used for 8% of contactless card payments in 2014, it only accounts for a small share of payments.
Scheme shares will change as contactless expands
Contactless has spread rapidly in Europe, and RBR forecasts the payment volume to increase nine-fold between 2014 and 2020 as the technology gains traction in more countries in the region. As a result of greater contactless usage in a number of under-developed markets where MasterCard is the main scheme, for example Russia, the gap between Visa and MasterCard is likely to narrow to reflect the overall scheme shares for all card payments in the region.