MasterCard is expecting an uplift in contactless transactions to lead to a revolution in mobile payments, with the card scheme currently running 50 NFC pilots across Europe.
MasterCard says that contactless is now available in 63 countries worldwide, and in 34 countries in Europe including seven new countries in 2013: Azerbaijan, Finland, Ireland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and the Netherlands.
MasterCard and Maestro contactless cards or devices have been issued by more than 220 financial institutions in Europe and can be used at almost two million merchant locations worldwide, representing more than a 180% year-on-year increase. The card scheme says the number of contactless transactions across Europe have more than tripled and the volume spent on those transactions has increased four times year-on-year.
The figures chime with recent data from Visa Europe which recently reported a tripling in transactions over the past year as the number of terminals doubled, while Barclays in the UK says customers are now spending £6.6 million a day with a tap of their card.
Javier Perez, president, MasterCard Europe says: "The figures we share today showcase how contactless payment has reached mass market adoption in several countries. The move to contactless is also helping us continue to drive the use of mobile payments and by the end of Q4 2013, we had 50 mobile NFC programmes live in Europe."
Rival scheme Visa Europe also views contactless as a stepping stone to full-scale mobile payments. In January, it reported 62 mobile contactless projects now live or planned to launch across Europe. The card scheme says it is firmly on track to realise its prediction that 50% of Visa transactions will made be made through a mobile device by 2020.