Around £1 in every £3 in the UK was spent on Visa cards in 2011, with growth in debit and e-commerce payments fuelling a strong year for the European card scheme, which is now training its sights on mobile services.
Acorss the Eurozone, spend on Visa cards in Europe grew 14% in 2011, totaling €1.16 trillion, equating to €1 in every €7 of consumer spending - up from €1 in €8 in 2010 and €1 in €18 in 2000.
The trend was most marked in the UK. Visa Europe says that for the year ending 30 September, UK debit spend on its cards topped £318 billion, a rise of 27% on 2010. Meanwhile, e-commerce accounted for 22% of all Visa spend in the UK, growing by more than 40% over the year.
Fraud losses on Visa cards in the UK reached an all-time low in 2011, with the fraud to sales ratio falling by 23% to 0.05%, thanks largely to EMV technology.
The company says it will continue to roll out contactless cards over the next 12 months, taking the number in circulation from 20 million to 30 million.
However, having vowed in March to pump EUR100 million a year into mobile and e-commerce, Visa Europe looks set to switch its attention away from cards this year.
The firm has already made strategic investments in Monitise and Beyond Analysis recently and in October launched mobile person-to-person payment and alert services for bank customers.
This year will see the first launches of mobile phones capable of contactless point-of-sale transactions and the introduction of Visa's digital wallet service, with the Olympics used as a showcase for the new technology.
Peter Ayliffe, chief executive, Visa Europe, says: "We expect this growth in electronic payments to continue during 2012 when we will be launching mobile payments and our digital wallet services. These new products, that are a key part of our Future of Payments strategy, will revolutionise consumers' everyday shopping experience to the extent that by 2020 we predict that over half of all Visa transactions will be on a mobile device."