There is no doubt the future belongs to contactless payments. Tap transactions already have a very healthy growth in Europe. Looking back year on this year, the growth has amounted to an impressive 170 percent. Contactless spending in Europe has tripled compared to the same quarter in 2014. Statistics are very interesting: every other transaction was made at food stores, and one in seven customers used tap&go to pay at restaurants and bars. Surprisingly, only 10 percent of transactions were made at retail stores.
Still, merchants are adapting to the new wave very seriously: compared to Q2 2014, there are now 64 percent more retailers that accept MasterCard and Maestro. To stimulate further growth, MasterCard recently announced new standards for retailers. The plan is to adapt them throughout Europe by the end of 2017. These new standards push the authentication of transactions towards the mobile device, which use either biometric capabilities offered by modern smartphones, or otherwise use a PIN code. Mobile authentication is thus making it increasingly logical to use NFC smartphone payments for all occasions.
Changes in contactless payments
More and more markets are raising limits on contactless payments. MasterCard has recently raised the limit from £20 to £30. In France it’s €25. By 2017 when these standards will be fully adopted in Europe, it will be viable to use NFC smartphones for paying regardless of the transaction value.
Change is coming everywhere: new contactless acceptance deals are made every day across Europe. That includes major retailers like Ikea in Austria, Media Saturn in Germany and restaurants like McDonald’s in Belarus. The number of new terminals with contactless capability has doubled in a year.
Javier Perez, president of MasterCard Europe, is thrilled with the interest Europeans are showing for new forms of payment: “Consumers in 40 European countries are endorsing the contactless payment experience as part of their day-to-day life. 61% of MasterCardand Maestroin-store transactions are contactless in the Czech Republic, while similar growth trends are being seen in Poland (41%), in Hungary (27%) and in Slovakia (27%). Every time consumers see the contactless logo, they can use any contactless enabled device whether it’s a card, a mobile phone or another contactless enabled form factor to pay at home but also abroad”.
In September 2014, MasterCard announced that it was establishing contactless acceptance as a standard for merchants accepting MasterCard and Maestro in Europe, ensuring that consumers will be able to pay with their contactless cards and NFC enabled devices at all point-of-sale (POS) terminals in Europe by 2020.