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Contactless Cards and Payments in Europe – Rollout with Significant Traction

Contactless cards and payments are the new normal for Europe. The country profiles of the Payment Cards Yearbooks provide the individual background of contactless cards and POS terminals by country, including card form factors and mobile contactless payment initiatives.

  • As at end-2014, MasterCard reported that contactless cards with PayPass function
    The contactless card symbol

    Contactless Cards

    are issued in 38 European countries (+2 on 2014) and were accepted at 2.5 million POS terminals.

  • By end-2014, VISA Europe reported that 131 million VISA contactless cards issued by 240 banks can be used at 2.6 million contactless POS terminals across Europe.
  • The countries continuing to head the contactless roll-out in Europe include the UK, France, Turkey, Poland, Spain and Slovakia.
  • Many contactless card form-factors are field tested: NFC stickers, mini-cards, key fobs, embedded in a microSD card attached to iPhones, and wearables. Also, there are more than 200 mobile contactless payment pilots in Europe.
  • The mobile network operators continued to push their SIM SE NFC ecosystem where the card credentials are stored in a secure element on the SIM card of Android smartphones.

Leading issuer banks, Apple (ApplePay), Google (GooglePay) and Samsung (SamsungPay) have started mobile HCE NFC payment services using tokenisation security combined with host card emulation (HCE) technology with the card credentials ‘stored in the cloud’.

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