European Consumers See Contactless as Step to Mobile Payments

2012 set to be the tipping point for mainstream contactless adoption in Europe.

Visa Europe has launched its second quarterly Contactless Barometer study results. The Barometer canvassed perceptions of contactless technologies across the UK, Poland and Turkey, based on surveys of 1,700 banked individuals and in-depth panel sessions with around 500 contactless card owners per market.

The study shows that contactless owners value the convenience and ease of contactless payments, but suggests that the current relatively low acceptance levels in some markets is still preventing usage from becoming an every day habit.

Consumers expect  a contactless future across cards and mobile, with 77% of contactless owners across all three markets agreeing or strongly agreeing that contactless technology would ultimately become more commonplace than cash as a payment method (UK: 73%, Poland: 79%, Turkey: 79%).

Eighty seven percent agreed that contactless will be instrumental in bringing mobile contactless payments to market in the near future (UK: 84%, Poland: 89%, Turkey: 89%).

“People with experience of contactless cards are starting to see it as the first step to the arrival of mobile payments,” said Mark Austin, Head of Contactless for Visa Europe. “The tipping point to more mainstream acceptance will be availability: the more chance consumers have to use their contactless cards, the more enthusiastic their response becomes. For us, London 2012 will be a major tipping point in the UK, with thousands of new contactless terminals installed across the Olympic venues to make payments as easy and convenient as they can possibly be.”

The proportion of contactless owners who cite the availability of contactless Point of Sale (PoS) terminals as a preventative to usage has increased (34% of UK contactless users vs. 23% the previous quarter). Where acceptance has increased, usage has grown significantly. For example, as a result of McDonald’s nationwide rollout of contactless terminals in the UK, 32% of UK card owners have now used their contactless card to pay for fast food, compared to just 12% in the previous quarter.

The research also provides insight into the role that banks and retailers can play in further stimulating consumer adoption of contactless payments.

Communication received from the bank either before or after receipt of a contactless card plays a vital role in driving understanding and awareness of the new service among contactless cardholders (UK: 46%, Poland: 55%, Turkey: 38%), while external communications like TV and poster advertising is also cited by respondents as important (UK: 14%, Poland: 12%, Turkey: 15%). Collateral at the POS also plays its part in reminding consumers where they can use contactless payments (UK: 13%, Poland: 8%, Turkey 17%).

The research also suggested that incentives to use the technology would also be of interest once contactless infrastructure reaches critical mass (UK: 39%, Poland: 48%, Turkey: 34%).

“With the number of contactless cards in circulation in the UK forecast to top 30 million by the end of next year and London 2012 set to showcase how the technology offers added convenience, the next 12 months provide an opportunity for the industry to capitalize on contactless payments and further connect with consumers,” Austin added.





  1. The one major factor that they fail to discuss is the security risk behind these. Yes they are incredibly convenient, but dropping you’re card in the street or whilst out would mean that any one of the general public having limited but potentially damaging access to your account/money.

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