Nearly Half of Card Payments Across Europe Are Contactless

Nearly half of all card payments in Europe are from a contactless card, according to data gathered by Mastercard.

In a press release, the credit card company highlighted the use of transport systems in Europe (such as the London Underground) as a reason for growth, as contactless payments enable faster transactions and greater security. By 2020, it is predicted that all point-of-sale terminals in Europe could be contactless-enabled.

In over 15 European markets - including Denmark, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Russia, contactless payments are already above 50 percent , while in some countries such as Poland, contactless transactions are over 80 percent .

"Europe is leading the way in contactless payments and what is consistent across the board, despite the economy and development status of each country, is the consumers' adoption behaviour to embrace contactless technology ... We're increasingly seeing various European markets demonstrating swift adoptions of the technology as consumers increase their trust in the technology. " said Javier Perez, President Mastercard Europe.

This news sits in contrast with the integration of contactless payments in the US, with many avenues of public transportation - including the New York subway - still yet to fully embrace contactless.

According to a New York Times article, contactless payment cards "mostly failed to gain people's interest several years ago because few stores accepted the largely untested, and potentially fraud-prone, older version of the technology."

Building the infrastructure to accept contactless payment is certainly a hurdle in getting the method more widespread in the US, but more affordable smartphones will certainly assist in that transition. Convenient ways to pay with your phone, either via Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, give customers the means to make these payments without having to get a new card.

However, not everywhere may support those services, demonstrated by the recent news that Apple Pay is now supported by Costco, it's still yet to make its way to other stores such as Walmart, the largest retailer in the US, which prefers to use it's own method called Walmart Pay.

Wearables such as the Apple Watch, Wear OS smartwatches, or even some fitness trackers like the Fitbit Ionic also provide a new avenue to contactless payment. And even those who prefer cards can take advantage of start-up banks like Monzo and Stripe - with many of those cards offering more features (such as instant freezing) than traditional banks.

This news also comes after the report that Google apparently struck a deal with Mastercard which allowed Google to have access to customer offline spending habits in order to link it with online advertising views and clicks for 12 months.

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