Visa Europe Predicts Acceleration of UK Contactless Market in 2011

Visa Europe predicts there will be 20 million Visa-branded contactless cards on issue and 60,000 point-of-sale terminals to accept them by the end of 2011 in the United Kingdom.

The 60,000-terminal projection represents about a 40% increase from the number of contactless terminals in the United Kingdom at present. There were 42,500 contactless POS terminals in UK shops as of November, according to the main issuer and acquirer of contactless in the United Kingdom, Barclays and its Barclaycard unit. Barclays has paid for many of the terminals.

The 60,000 projection includes readers to be installed on up to 8,000 buses in London, which transit authority Transport for London has pledged to equip to accept open-loop contactless bank card payment.

In addition, convenience store chain Spar is installing contactless terminals in its 2,600 UK stores. And the country’s fifth largest supermarket chain and third largest retail pharmacy, the Co-operative Food and the Co-operative Pharmacy, respectively, could add up to a combined 3,000 stores, though not all by the end of 2011. Other, perhaps larger, chains are expected to accept contactless by the end of next year.

The large majority of the 20 million Visa-branded contactless EMV cards on issue by next year will have been rolled out by Barclays and Barclaycard. The bank predicts it will have 12 million contactless debit and credit cards on issue by the end of 2010. In addition, MBNA Europe, part of U.S.-based Bank of America, announced it planned to put contactless functionality on 5 million credit cards in the United Kingdom by the end of 2011. There will be additional MasterCard PayPass contactless cards issued in the United Kingdom through next year, including some of the MBNA and Barclaycard cards, along with Virgin Money cards. 

The projections for cards and terminals in the UK market were included in a recent presentation by Mark Austin, Visa Europe's head of contactless. While the United Kingdom is the biggest market for contactless in Europe, it is not the only hotspot. Austin said there were more than 12 million Visa-branded contactless EMV cards issued between March 2009 and September 2010. Of those, just under 80% were cards issued in the United Kingdom. Turkey accounted for 13% and Poland 6% of cards issued during the 18-month period.

But other countries are accounting for a growing share of issuance. During September 2010, the United Kingdom made up just 52% of Visa payWave cards issued, compared with 26% in Poland, 17% in Turkey and 3% each in France and Italy.

Polish banks have been issuing mainly MasterCard PayPass cards to date, but the country’s biggest bank, PKO Bank Polski, began to roll out 6.5 million Visa-branded contactless debit EMV cards in September.

Visa has not released figures for contactless transactions in the United Kingdom, though they remain relatively small. Barclays announced in November that contactless transactions for its debit and Barclaycard credit cards had topped 1 million for 2010, including 150,000 transactions during September.

Austin cited survey results that show high satisfaction rates among consumers for contactless in the United Kingdom, though most people with cards hadn't used them. 

According to the survey of 3,075 UK adults conducted in November 2010 by market research firm Fast.Map, 16% of UK cardholders knew they had a contactless card. That equates to about 8 million people.

But of the respondents who knew they had a contactless card, 75% said they hadn't used it. The other quarter of respondents had used contactless. Men 18 to 35 were most likely to use contactless, women 45 and above, the least likely.

About 9% of the survey respondents said they chose their issuer just to get contactless and another 26% said they were fully aware of contactless before they received their card. But an additional 39% didn’t know much about contactless and 18% knew nothing, according to the research firm, which likely was commissioned by Visa.

Of those who have contactless cards but had not used them, 53% said they didn’t know any merchants that accepted the cards, 22% were worried about security and 21% were not sure how to use contactless cards.

Of those people who had used contactless, 84% said they found it was quicker than cash, and the same percentage rated the experience as good or excellent. About 73% said they used contactless cards about once a week.

About 75% of respondents who had used contactless said they would like to be able to use it at more places. Also, 38% said terminals are often out of order. About a quarter of contactless users were worried about security.


Uber Expands Mobile Ticketing to More U.S. Public Transit Agencies

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As expected, Uber today has expanded support for public transit ticketing in its app again, this time to a consortium of 13 small and mid-tier transit agencies in Ohio and Northern Kentucky–following two other U.S. transit agencies, in Denver and Las Vegas, which have already integrated with Uber–it was announced today. NFC Times had reported the planned move in late May. 

Open-Loop Fare Payments Rollouts Continue Post-Lockdowns, with Italy’s Fourth Largest City Latest to Launch Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Another of Italy’s major cities has launched open-loop fare collection, with Turin enabling customers to pay for rides on its one-line metro and certain bus routes by tapping their contactless EMV credit and debit cards, along with smartphones and smartwatches supporting NFC payments services.

Calgary Transit Launches Mobile-Ticketing Service with Plans to Expand to Open Loop

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Canada’s third largest city, Calgary, has introduced its first electronic fare payments service, offering mobile ticketing from a software-as-a-service platform provider, with plans to enable customers to pay for fares with their contactless EMV credit and debit cards and NFC wallets.

As E-Commerce Surges, Major U.S. Payments Networks Announce Plans to Expand Click to Pay Globally

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – As e-commerce continues to grow in importance as Covid-19 lockdowns ease, four major U.S. payments networks announced today they are laying the groundwork to expand their uniform e-commerce checkout platform internationally.

Transit Payments Company Head: Apple and Google Positioned to Take Bigger Piece of Payments Industry

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The head of transit payments gateway and processor Littlepay said he believes that Apple and Google are well-positioned to take a “big bite out of the payment chain,” which could change their relationship with payments networks Visa and Mastercard from one of collaboration to one of competition.

Cubic Expands Agreement with Moovit, Seeking to Drive More Use of Mobile Apps by Transit Agencies

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Cubic Transportation Systems and Israel-based trip planning app provider Moovit, now owned by Intel, have expanded their partnership to develop mobile services for transit agencies, seeking to enable transit customers to “look, book and pay” for multimodal journeys.

Brussels Latest European Capital to Launch Open-Loop Fare Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Major Brussels transit operator STIB-MIVB plans to begin accepting contactless EMV credit and debit cards and NFC wallets on Wednesday, the latest European capital to launch open-loop payments following the success of the technology as demonstrated in London.

In-Depth: Boston Transit Agency Seeks to Put Massive Fare-Collection Project Back on Track

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The massive new fare-collection system planned by Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, which will include open-loop contactless payments and an expanded closed-loop program, has had trouble getting off the ground. Late last week, the transit agency finalized its “reset” of the project, agreeing to increase the contract by nearly 30% to just over $935 million and to add two more years to the rollout schedule–all in hopes of getting the project back on track.

With E-Commerce Skyrocketing, Tokenized Transactions Expected to Soar, as Well

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As more consumers buy online, and to a lesser extent use mobile wallets for in-store purchases, because of the coronavirus pandemic, tokenized card transactions are expected to increase dramatically.  

Software-as-Service Platforms for Transit Agencies Begin to Support Open-Loop Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In what is believed to be a first, a transit agency in Europe plans to accept contactless credit and debit cards using a third-party software-as-a-service platform this summer, UK-based platform provider Masabi told NFC Times, although the company declined to name the agency. The project is expected to begin as a pilot.

Apple Launches Overdue Octopus Payments Service in Hong Kong, as It Continues to Seek More Transit Applications for Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple today finally launched its Octopus transit payments service in Hong Kong on Apple Pay, nearly a year after the service was originally announced and more than two years after rival Samsung introduced a similar service in the market.

Mastercard: Contactless Payments in Europe Approach 80% of Card Transactions; Pandemic Causes More Consumers to Shun Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While contactless payments in Europe were already commonplace and continue to grow, the Covid-19 pandemic has created even more interest in the technology among consumers, according to a report released Thursday by Mastercard. The report includes a survey showing that consumers in eight major European markets say they use NFC-enabled smartphones and wearables for a combined 32% of all contactless transactions, a spokeswoman confirmed to NFC Times.