500 Million Additional Touch-Free Visa Payments As European Contactless Limits Increase

  • Consumers embrace touch-free payments as Visa processes half a billion additional PIN-less transactions since contactless payments limits increased across Europe due to COVID-19
  • Irish contactless transactions rise by 15 percent year-on-year as consumers opt for the convenience and ease of touch-free payments for their everyday spending
  • The pandemic has accelerated the global demand for easy, quick, and secure commerce, with more businesses also accepting contactless payments

Dublin, 20 October 2020 – Visa today announced that it has processed more than half a billion additional touch-free payments, where previously consumers would have needed to use a PIN pad, since contactless limits were increased in more than 29 countries across Europe. Contactless transactions rose by 15 percent[1] year-on-year in Ireland alone, with the average purchase amount also increasing by over 25 percent[2] due to the new contactless limit of €50 being introduced on 1st April earlier this year.

COVID-19 has transformed contactless payment from a nice-to-have to a must-have. The ability to pay digitally in-stores is no longer just a convenience but a necessity for consumers and merchants, helping them to avoid contact with payment terminals.

The growing demand for contactless is visible across Europe, where over 75 percent of in-store Visa payments are now contactless. In some European countries, the share of Visa transactions that are contactless have more than doubled year-on-year[3] and in many of the largest European nations, the share of Visa transactions that are contactless has increased by at least 20 percent in the past year[4].

Philip Konopik, Ireland Country Manager, Visa, said: “The increasing popularity of contactless payments in Ireland is not new – the pandemic has only served to accelerate an existing trend, only now touch-free payments are no longer a convenience, but a necessity. When the global pandemic hit, we worked with our partners in Ireland to raise the contactless payment limit to €50 in April in order to help consumers pay more easily and securely and reduce the need to enter their PIN.

“Introducing higher contactless limits is just part of how Visa is supporting the economic recovery in Ireland. Our goal is to enable individuals and businesses to thrive, be that through making it easier and more secure for consumers to pay in person and online, or encouraging the Irish public to shop with local businesses through the Champion Green campaign. As we recover from COVID-19, we would encourage shoppers to not only think about how they pay but where they spend their money. The Irish small business community forms the backbone of the Irish economy, so it’s vital that we support them now in their time of need.”

Underpinned by Visa’s leading payment technology and security, European consumers are increasingly able to tap their cards and mobile devices to make touch-free payments while on the move. Visa’s latest transit innovation means contactless payment can now also be used for travel in more than 50 European cities.

What’s more, contactless cards experience among the lowest fraud rates of any type of payment and fraud at the physical point of sale has remained at historic lows in countries where contactless payments are widely used.

[1] VisaNet data, June 2020

2 VisaNet data, June 2020

3 VisaNet data, June 2020

4 VisaNet data, June 2020


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