The growth of contactless payments continues apace with MasterCard issuing its 50 millionth PayPass device late last year, a doubling of the amount in circulation in just 12 months.
As of the fourth quarter of last year, the firm says it has issued over 50 million PayPass cards or other devices such as key rings, which can be used to make low value payments at specially equipped terminals in over 141,000 merchant locations around the world.
MasterCard claims there is strong support for the technology, with a US benchmark survey conducted last year finding that 77% of consumers that have a PayPass-enabled card use it as their primary form of payment.
In addition, the company says customers are starting to base purchasing decisions on whether merchants accept PayPass or not. Currently, the top merchants that have received a visit from a new customer because of their PayPass acceptance include quick-service restaurants, on 20%, pharmacies, 17% and supermarkets, 13%.
The survey also reveals strong interest in the use of mobile contactless technology, with one-third of consumers saying they are interested in having PayPass functionality in their handsets.
The growing popularity of contactless is part of a trend toward electronic payments, with recent data from BAI Research and Hitachi Consulting showing 41% of consumers use cash less often today than they did two years ago.
Cathleen Conforti, global PayPass product manager, MasterCard Worldwide, says: "PayPass is the payment innovation that is displacing cash while making transactions faster, easier and more secure in a way that creates a more efficient system of global commerce for consumers, merchants and financial institutions."
Earlier this month UK bank Barclays began issuing contactless debit cards - using MasterCard rival Visa's payWave technology - as standard and says it expects more than three million customers to be using the technology by the end of the year.