Visa Europe is to invest more than EUR200 million in new payment technologies to accelerate the growth of digital payments after reporting record transaction volumes for 2014.
Gross revenues grew 9% year-on-year to €1.9 billion while profits of €344 million were €80m higher than last year.
The amount spent at point-of-sale broke through €1.5 trillion for the first time, a rise of 9.4% from 2013, with a total of 37 billion transactions.
Overall, there are now more than 500 million Visa cards in circulation - one for each adult in Europe - and one fifth of these are contactless as the technology becomes commonplace. The total amount accessed through all Visa cards, including ATM transactions, rose to over €2 trillion.
Nicolas Huss, chief executive officer of Visa Europe, bills 2015 as a defining year for digital payments.
“We will further eat away at the 70% of transactions that are still settled in cash in Europe," he says. "We will make use of the abundance of digital technology that now surrounds us to enable new digital payment solutions. And, most importantly, we will deliver an even better quality of service to retailers and consumers alike by making payment simpler, smarter and more secure than ever before."
On the issue of interchange capping, Huss says it’s time to move on from the debate about fees and onto something more constructive, calling on retailers to use savings from regulation on improving consumer payments.
"Regulation is coming on interchange fees and the European Commission estimates that this regulation will bring savings of around €6 billion to European retailers," he says. "At Visa Europe, we’re investing more than €200m a year in new payments technologies. If retailers invest just a fraction of their savings, we can truly work together to make a leap forward in improving the consumer experience.”