Europeans embracing contactless payments – Irish no different

23 Dec 2014

A major increase in contactless payments across Europe has seen Ireland reach a milestone, with 10m purchases made that way to date.

The latest figures from Visa Europe show that European consumers have made 554m purchases via contactless payments in the 12 months to June 2014, with a growing number of outlets offering access to this payment service.

“We’ve seen impressive growth in contactless payments in Ireland with consumers opting for the convenience of being able to pay quickly without the need to fumble for change,” says Conor Langford, Irish country manager at Visa Europe.

“Contactless usage has also accelerated with more retailers rolling out the technology as consumers now expect it as a standard payment option. In this regard, we have seen foreign visitors from 30 different countries use their Visa cards to make contactless transactions in Ireland in the past year.”

Phoning it in

Of course it’s not just the traditional financial service providers who are shaping this contactless world we are developing. Indeed the whole service behind contactless payments is undergoing a tech revolution, with major companies such as Apple, Samsung and Google getting in on the act in some form or another – helped by the global acceptance of smartphone ownership.

According to a report out earlier this year, one in five smartphones will have mobile wallet functionality by 2018 and one-third of mobile wallets will feature contactless-payment capabilities, according to a new forecast.

Apple’s Apple Pay service has gone through a fairly bumpy ride in 2014, with its introduction promising much optimism but bringing a fair wedge of misery. It activated 1m cards in its first three days but certain organisations originally railed against it for business reasons and teething issues.

Google’s Google Wallet, far more established than Apple Pay (although recent reports of Apple Pay gaining 1.6pc of market share in its opening six weeks is not necessarily a bad thing) has even brought about voice-activated payments through its Google Glass product.

Samsung’s entrance into this market is in no way guaranteed, but judging by its end-of-year business, it’s highly likely.

Contactless payment image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic