Visa Europe announced today that over 1bn contactless transactions have been made across Europe in the last 12 months, totalling more than €12.6bn (£89bn).
In the UK, Worldpay revealed that it has processed over £2bn contactless payments since January 2012, and that the number of contactless transactions rose by more than 49% in the last six months (16.33m contactless transactions processed in November 2014 versus 24.4m in April 2015).
This rapid growth means total transaction volumes using contactless have increased by 964% in the last two years.
Figures from Visa data also show that the UK is leading the charge in contactless adoption in Europe, with the number of contactless cards growing by more than 37% in the last 12 months to March 2015. There are now 49.6m cards in circulation.
British consumers have also spent more than €330m in March alone by touch payments. The roll-out of contactless payments on all Transport for London (TfL) services is one reason for this accelerated growth of contactless in the UK, as there have been more than 100m contactless journeys since launch (85m of which have been using Visa cards).
Other sectors leading to the growth in contactless includes supermarkets and food retailers, which accounts for 46% of all contactless transactions, the hospitality sector is close behind with 38% taking place in bars, coffee shops and takeaways. However, the rest of the retail sector has a long way to go, however, accounting for just 13% of contactless transactions across the UK.
London is the contactless capital of the UK, accounting for 38% of all transactions with the South East some way behind at 12%.
The UK leads Europe in Visa contactless cards issued (49.6m cards) while Spain is top of the league table with the number of terminals (593,000 terminals).
By 2020 all Visa point-of-sale terminals in Europe will accept contactless payments.
Sandra Alzetta, Executive Director of Core Products at Visa Europe said: “Across Europe, usage levels have soared, with more than one billion contactless transactions made by Visa cardholders in the last 12 months alone.
The popularity of contactless will only increase in future as we experience the next generation of digital payments, where the simplicity and convenience is extended to mobile and wearable NFC technology.”