Visa embarks on Strasbourg contactless payments pilot

Source: Visa Europe

Visa Europe France and its member banks are playing an active role in today's contactless payments deployment in Strasbourg. The launch follows the successful deployment of contactless payments in Nice in May 2010.

Visa Europe's actions are in line with the work being carried out by the French Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry, which aims to make contactless payments by card and mobile widely available across France.

Strasbourg becomes France's second "capital" for contactless technology:

A number of Visa Europe's member banks play a major role in the Strasbourg pilot, including Banque Edel, BNP Paribas, Banque Postale, Banque Populaire d'Alsace et Caisse d'Epargne d'Alsace (Groupe BPCE), Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel-CIC, HSBC, LCL et Société Générale. The pilot focuses on the distribution of contactless payment terminals and cards.

"Visa Europe and the member banks involved in this trial are proud to be taking part in this next step towards the large-scale deployment of contactless technology in France. Within a few years, everyone in France will be able to benefit from this technology," says Gérard Nebouy, Managing Director, Visa Europe France.

Visa Europe is also launching a campaign in Strasbourg to help raise public awareness of the advantages and benefits of contactless technology.
 A poster campaign focused around Strasbourg's shopping centres, bus shelters and car parks;
 A print media campaign;
 A fleet of Visa-branded "Smart" cars bearing the slogan: "Visa contactless payment is coming to Strasbourg" ["le paiement Visa sans contact arrive à Strasbourg"]

Contactless technology plays a key part in Visa Europe's innovation strategy:

With 23.3 million contactless Visa cards issued so far in Europe since their launch in 2007, Visa Europe plays a key role in consultancy and coordination between banks and industrial players in order to deploy this technology on a large scale in all countries. Great Britain is currently the most active country in terms of contactless payment, with 15 million cards issued to date.

Based on short-range wireless technology, contactless cards allow simple, fast and secure payments of purchases less than €20. To make the transaction, the cardholder simply needs to pass the contactless card within 4cm of an equipped payment terminal.

Contactless cards benefit from the same rigorous security standards and technical expertise as traditional chip and PIN Visa cards. The transaction amount for contactless cards is limited, with a maximum amount per transaction of €20 combined with a maximum cumulative limit (chosen by the issuer). Once this limit is reached, a security check is required: if need be, in order to carry out a transaction, the cardholder must insert the card into a reader and enter their confidential code to confirm their identity.

In addition, a contactless transaction may only be initiated by a merchant's payment terminal, since the card itself does not transmit any signal, and requires the card to be placed within 4cm of the reader. There is therefore no risk of an involuntary payment.

The contactless functionality of the cards can also be incorporated into a mobile phone to enable mobile payments in the future. 

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