MasterCard has set a six-year timescale for all European merchants to replace their existing point-of-sale terminals with contactless-enabled tills by 2020.
The card scheme has set in motion a two-phase shift to contactless as a standard by insisting that all new POS terminals must be capable of accepting 'tap and pay' cards upon deployment as from 1 January 2016. Existing POS terminals can be replaced at end of their natural lifecycle, but at the latest by 1 January 2020.
Chris Kangas, head of contactless payments Europe at MasterCard says: "In 2013 alone the number of MasterCard and Maestro contactless transactions across Europe tripled and the volume spent on those transactions increased four times. Contactless users tell us on social media that they love tapping and want to tap more. Today's announcement is a much needed stake in the ground, marking the next milestone for contactless."
He says the shift will help fast-track the move to mobile payments in Europe, pointing out that by 2018 two in three mobile phones are expected to be NFC-enabled.