MWC 2017: Visa continues to see contactless growth


Users making contactless payments on a mobile device had tripled in a year

Smartphones and wearable devices will continue to be a major driver in the growth of contactless payments throughout the UK.

This is according to Visa digital solutions director Sandra Alzetta (pictured) who revealed to Mobile News that recent research from the global banking company claims mobile payments are on the up.

Visa surveyed 36,843 consumers in 19 countries throughout Europe, including Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland and the UK between August and September last year. There were 2,000 respondents in the UK.

It revealed the number of users making contactless payments on a mobile device had tripled in a year. More than half said they made transactions on a mobile device, up from 18 per cent the previous year.

However, the UK didn’t rank in the top five countries where the adoption of mobile payments is at its highest. That consisted of Turkey (91 per cent), Denmark (89 per cent), Norway (87 per cent), Israel (87 per cent) and Sweden (86 per cent).

Additional figures from the UK Card Association claim there are now over 101.8 million contactless cards in the UK, with more than a billion payments made by contactless in 2015. Cash payments in the year made up 45.1 per cent of all payments, compared to 64 per cent a decade before.

Full figures for last year are yet to be revealed. However, contactless payments in November totalled £2.9 billion, up 183.5 per cent a year ago.

Alzetta claimed the growing number of smart devices will only help this increase in the future. Although she declined to give specific figures, she did reveal 30 per cent of all payments processed through Visa worldwide were through contactless.

Increasing UK popularity

Despite the UK not being positioned in the top five countries for mobile payment adoptions, she remains confident it can still be a force due to the decreasing prices of smartphones and the widening availability of the technology.

“The UK was a major adopter of contactless technology and this is still on the increase. Smartphones are getting cheaper and more democratised. The technology is becoming more easily accessible to consumers on the UK market. You can stick contactless technology in objects such as jewellery or watches, so there’s a wide appeal there.

“Contactless payments are also driving the adoption of smart technology such as mobile phones and wearables. We’ve found that contactless payments offer a huge selling point to people who are looking for features on a handset or a smart watch which can make their lives much more convenient.”

The findings come after a Mobile Money report from Visa in June revealed a quarter of Brits expect to use their mobile phone to make payments on a daily basis by 2020, growing from one in 12.

Research was conducted in Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK, with the sample size being 12,015 consumers.