Visa have released figures showing 51 million contactless payments were made in the last 12 months worth £338m to July 2013 (UK). £45.2 million payments were made in June 2013 alone, a 5 fold increase compared to June 2012. These figures are a huge boost for the technology which has not been adopted as quickly as anticipated and has been hampered by security concerns.
Contactless payments in the UK
- 6.8 million purchases made in June 2013, total £45.2 million spent (compared to 1.4 million transactions and £8.6 million spent in June 2012)
- More than 3 million Visa contactless journeys have been made on London buses since December 2012
- Currently more than 28 million Visa contactless cards and 280,000 contactless terminals in the UK
- Average value of a contactless purchase in the UK is £6.65
Contactless payments in Europe
- Over 1 million terminals now accept contactless payment in Europe
- More than 65 million Visa contactless cards in Europe
- In the 12 months since June 2012 Europeans have spent €1.5 billion on 187 million purchases
What are Contactless Payments?
Contactless payments are a type of payment made using a contactless payment card and contactless terminal. The card is simply waved above the terminal to make payment rather than having to enter a PIN. It is currently the fastest way to make payments which is the major benefit. The technology used is Near Field Communication (NCF) which is similar to a magnetic field, hence the card has to be held within 5 cm of the terminal for it to work. The legal limit for contactless payments in the UK is currently £20.
Merchants accepting contactless payment in the UK include M&S, Boots, WHSmith, Pret A Manger, Co-Op, and Costcutter among others. Lidl are the latest to announce a rollout of contactless tech in their 600 UK stores.
Banks issuing contactless cards in the UK include: Barclays, Barclaycard, Capital One, Duncan Lawrie, HSBC, Investec, Lloyds Banking Group, MBNA, NatWest and RBS. Customers aren’t always aware they are being issued contactless cards. If you have this symbol on your bank card you can use it to make contactless payments:
The confusion has led to one or two problems in trials for instance a customer being inadvertently charged on the wrong card. However, problems have been few and far between.
The technology was promoted at the London 2012 Olympics with many of the food outlets and services around the Olympics taking contactless payments. Visa used Usain Bolt to advertise Faster Flow. The UK has very much been a testing ground for Europe with contactless and further expansion is expected in the UK and Europe.