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Contactless payments surge across Europe

Contactless payments surge across Europe

In less than a year since contactless limits increased across Europe, Visa has hit a processing milestone of one billion additional PIN-free transactions.

The growth of contactless has been a key trend during the pandemic, with touch-free payments seen by the public and merchants as a means of minimising the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Charlotte Hogg, chief executive officer, Europe at Visa, comments: “The demand for touch-free payments indicates that contactless has become the norm for European consumers and retailers.”

Growing demand for contactless transactions is evident across Europe, with over 80% of in-store Visa payments now contactless. In France and Germany, the number of contactless transactions has increased by two thirds and almost half respectively year-on-year.

Of the one billion transactions, 400 million took place in the UK, with further growth expected as the contactless limit is lifted to £100 later this year.

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 07 April, 2021, 10:372 likes 2 likes

Is this limit increase and subsequent volume hike on "pin-free" payments a good thing? Contactless low value payment without strong customer authentication (i.e no PIN at POS) is an exemption that is voluntary on the card issuer disposal at issuer own risk. If almost all card payments at POS now are made "without SCA" due to the "no-SCA needed limit" being increased, why did we need the PSD2 rule on mandatory strong customer authentication? And why the hassle with SCA demands on all e-comm payments over 30 Euros? Why not hike that limit as well? 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 07 April, 2021, 11:33Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Given that contactless payments was initally intended for low value transactions and the average trasaction value is sub £12, where is the demand for a higher limit of £100?

I also understand that the British Retail Consortium are aware of some merchants experiencing 'pin verification walkouts' at unattended terminals (particularly supermarkets), where customers tap their card, hear the beep and think payment has been sucessful when in fact it's only the card that has been read and the terminal is requesting pin verification. No fault of the customer who thinks they've paid, but a loss for the merchant which is currently estimated at £30M+ a year.

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - RTGS & ClearBank - London 07 April, 2021, 12:071 like 1 like

I am not sure the limit should be raised. No doubt this will lead to greater levels of fraud, in terms of value if not numbers. I have no idea why, if we want the limit to be raised and that frictionless experience, we simply do not push more mobile wallet type of adoption. There we have SCA because the phone was unlocked / wallet using some form of additional auth, more often than not biometrics. This is far more secure and should have no limit.....

John Davies
John Davies - Incept5 - London 07 April, 2021, 15:362 likes 2 likes

Certainly were I live (London) the limit is largely irrelevent, most people use their phones to pay, there's no practical limit as it's an authenitcated payment.

Personally I haven't used cash for over 3 years now, I haven't used my physical cards for over a year now (since lockdown 1). Everything is on my phone and watch, no limits, quick, secure, [covid] safe and easy.

Payments should be pushed to mobile devices, physical cards, like cash should become a thing of the past. 

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