Visa study reveals contactless mobile payments on the rise in Europe

October 2016
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The number of European consumers regularly using contactless mobile payments – whether via a smartphone, tablet or wearable – has tripled in the past year.

According to Visa’s 2016 Digital Payments Study, 54% of consumers surveyed regularly use a mobile device to make payments for a range of activities, compared to just 18% who were asked whether they used mobile payments to pay for everyday goods and services when the same study was conducted in 2015.

The study, which surveyed more than 36,000 online consumers in 19 European countries, reveals how consumer adoption of digital payments has shifted in the last 12 months. If in 2015, 38% of the people surveyed said they had never used a mobile device to make payments and had no plans to do so, in 2016 that number has dropped to 12%.

The top ten countries where mobile payments are most prevalent are Turkey, Norway, Denmark, Israel, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Ireland, Finland Belgium. These ten fall into two categories: developed markets – particularly the Nordics – which are evolving to new technologies at differing paces and developing markets such as Turkey and Romania, which have been leapfrogging traditional payment methods to adopt new technologies faster.

Mobile banking activity is also increasing across all age groups. More than half of European respondents in all age brackets are using mobile banking. While millennials remain the most prolific category, other age groups are rapidly catching up. With a growth rate of 33%, the highest growth rate is the 55-64 year olds, while millennials 18-34 have a growth rate of 24%.

Furthermore, contactless users are also consistently more open to embracing newer payment methods than those who don’t use contactless cards. The study highlights the correlation between contactless usage and new payment methods, revealing that contactless card users are more interested in using a mobile device as a payment method in a shop (52% contactless card user vs 32% non-contactless card user), shopping via a retailer app (49% vs 31%) or using a mobile device to pay for a meal (50% vs 30%).