One in two transactions in Europe are now contactless, Mastercard reports


Mastercard has announced today that almost one in two of in-store card transactions are now contactless across Europe, with a 97% increase in contactless transactions year-to-date.

In more than 15 key European markets – including Denmark, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Russia –contactless in-store transactions are already above 50%. Continuous technological advancements in payments and data analytics across Europe is enabling countries to fully embrace the constant improvements of regional technology infrastructures. As a result, each country is able to operate in more integrated and efficient ways.

The recent data also shows that European countries are dramatically shifting their consumer behaviour to embrace contactless technology with some countries, such as Poland, leading the way, where contactless transactions are over 80% year-to-date. Many European countries are embracing the cashless economy as demonstrated by people’s move away from cash and the rapid adoption of contactless technology.

Transportation systems across Europe are one of the main areas fuelling the growth of contactless transactions as they enable faster transactions and greater security. The number of customers using contactless in transit is steadily increasing as the technology takes a more prominent role in everyday life. Mastercard reinforces this movement and establishes the acceptance of contactless as standard in the continent, as by 2020 all point-of-sale terminals in Europe will be contactless enabled.

“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.

Expert Market, a leading B2B comparison site for card payment systems, has investigated the European countries where digital payment technologies are helping businesses thrive. Expert Market has created a map using the most recent Statista data from the European Union and considers the number of cashless transactions and total revenue from digital payments to determine the places with the most digitally-ready businesses.

In light of news earlier this year that, debit card payments surpassed cash for the first time, Expert Market’s map sheds light on the countries reaping the financial benefits from accepting digital payments.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The UK tops the list as the country leading the way in the cashless coup; Britain generated a mammoth £81.3 trillion (€90.9 trillion) in cashless payments in the year ending 2016
  • The UK also processed the highest number of cashless payment transactions (25,154)
  • Germany ranks in 2nd place  for having the most digitally-ready economy with an annual cashless spend of £48.7 million (€54.5 trillion)
  • Malta emerged as the country least receptive to the cashless revolution, processing 535 x more cash transactions than the UK

Within the past 12 months, Expert Market said it has seen some of the oldest institutions introduce innovative schemes designed to get their sector up to speed with the latest technological advancements including the Church of England in the UK who rolled out contactless payments in a bid to appeal to younger members of the congregation who rarely carry cash. Meanwhile, the introduction of card payments in taxis in Germany’s capital, Berlin, marks an attitudinal change in the country’s historic close attachment to cash.