Contactless payments in Europe passed a major milestone last year, according to Visa Europe, with three billion contactless transactions made in the 12-month period to 30 April 2016.

That figure almost tripled the number of transactions that took place over the same period one year before, highlighting how the one-tap form of payment is gaining transaction.

Essential Retail has picked out five stats that show the growing momentum of contactless payments across Europe.

3.2 million

Visa says that there are now more than 3.2 million contactless payment-ready terminals used in stores and restaurants across Europe, up 23% from 2.6 million at the end of April 2015. This rate of growth is expected to continue to accelerate, with the majority of new payment terminals deployed across Europe from January this year contactless-enabled.


Consumers in Poland, Spain and the UK use contactless the most, according to Visa. British contactless adoption grew by 300% – from 51 million transactions in April 2015 to 153 million in April 2016 – boosted by availability on Transport for London and in major retail chains such as Tesco, The Co-Operative, Marks & Spencer and McDonald's. 

360 million

The research shows that European consumers used their cards 360 million times in April alone – that's the equivalent of nearly 140 transactions per second and a 150% increase from the 143 million transactions in April 2015.


Contactless payments as a proportion of all Visa-processed face-to-face payments have risen from one in 60 in 2013, to more than one in five (20%) today. 


With contactless payment facilities now available in coffee shops, supermarkets and restaurants, among multiple other locations, the average value of this type of transaction has jumped by 12% to €13.83.  

Commenting on the upward trajectory of contactless payment, Tristan Kirchner, executive director for product management at Visa Europe, said: "This kind of success hasn't happened overnight, and it’s down to the sterling efforts across many teams at Visa and the wider payment industry making today's achievement possible while setting the stage for tomorrow's technology, including new wearable devices and mobile payment services."

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Visa Europe