Following the dramatic rise of e-commerce, which now accounts for 20% of all spending on its cards, Visa Europe is turning its attention to the mobile phone, predicting that a third of Europeans will be using its V.me digital wallet by 2020.
Despite the ongoing Eurozone crisis, total spending on Visa cards in the region grew by eight per cent, to EUR1.3 trillion, for the year ending September. Of this, EUR1.02 trillion was on debit cards. Visa Europe says that the growth was underpinned by e-commerce spending, which rose at twice the overall rate, 16%. Online spending totalled EUR202 billion, accounting for more than 20% of all processed business.
Growth was also strong in other core areas, with spending on commercial cards increasing by 17.6% and on pre-paid cards by 18.3%. Around EUR1 in every EUR6.75 spent in Europe is now on a Visa card.
In the UK, total spending increased by 6.1% to £407 billion and e-commerce grew by 11.5% to £96 billion, almost a quarter of the overall figure.
With the move away from the high-street to the virtual world well under way, the company is now setting its sights on the mobile money market as it prepares to launch the V.me digital wallet in the UK, France and Spain this year. Banks representing 80% of all UK consumers are already committed and the company says that it believes that one-third of all European consumers will be using V.me by 2020.
This year will also see the continued rollout of contactless payments for card and mobile devices. Contactless transactions in Europe quadrupled in 2012 and Visa Europe expects to repeat this in 2013. Across Europe there will be 40 issuers offering mobile contactless payment services to consumers and by the end of the year around 80 types of smartphone will be certified by Visa to carry out NFC transactions.
Peter Ayliffe, chief executive, Visa Europe, says: "As we continue to see the explosive adoption of mobile devices, our priority in 2013 is to give consumers faster, safer mobile ways to pay. The past six years have been about preparing and building the European payments infrastructure to support European commerce and the delivery of new payment technologies. The year ahead will see us putting mobile contactless payments into consumers' hands, and introducing digital wallets on a mass scale for the first time."