High value contactless payments available across Europe in 2017

MasterCard contactless
UPPING THE ANTE: MasterCard is rolling out high value contactless payments in Europe

Consumers will be able to make contactless transactions for high value payments above the current limit at all contactless terminals across Europe by 2017, MasterCard has announced.

The move follows the payment network’s confirmation that all point-of-sale terminals across the continent will be able to accept contactless transactions by 2020. The contactless limit increased from £20 (US$30) to £30 (US$46) in the UK this month.

“Using payment services such as Apple Pay, consumers can already make higher value (+£30) contactless transactions by authenticating themselves with their fingerprint or a PIN code on their mobile phone or other device,” MasterCard says. “However, currently, this is only available at selected retailers. By 2017, all contactless terminals will be upgraded to allow higher value payments.”

The announcement comes after the company revealed last month that the amount British consumers spent using contactless cards increased 560% in the last 12 months. Barclaycard also revealed the amount UK consumers are spending using contactless has risen 150% in the last 12 months. More than £2.5bn (US$3.8bn) was spent using contactless cards in the UK in the first half of 2015 compared to £2.32bn (US$3.55bn) for the whole of 2014, data from The UK Cards Association reveals.

Growing contactless acceptance

“Consumers in 40 European countries are endorsing the contactless payment experience as part of their day-to-day life,” says Javier Perez, president of MasterCard Europe. “61% of MasterCard in-store transactions are contactless in the Czech Republic, while similar growth trends are being seen in Poland (41%), in Hungary (27%) and in Slovakia (27%).”

A service that lets NFC phone users enter their PIN on their mobile device to confirm a high value transaction makes it possible for UK consumers to make contactless payments valued at more than the transaction limit and was introduced in the UK for the first time in November 2014.

“The list of retailers accepting contactless never stops growing,” says Chris Kangas, head of contactless payments Europe at MasterCard. “Over the last quarter, we have announced new acceptance deals across Europe with major retailers like Ikea and McDonald’s. The drive to contactless acceptance is taking hold. In July 2015, 43% of new terminals installed had contactless capability — up from 21% the previous year.”

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