Contactless Continent

May 28, 2020 | Brussels, Belgium

Mastercard helps Europe lead the way with Contactless adoption as it becomes the ‘new normal’

  •  78% of all Mastercard transactions across Europe are now contactless
  • Mastercard has enabled 42 countries to raise their spending limits in 2 months in order to help people everywhere benefit from the fastest and simplest way to pay
  • People now using contactless for everyday purchases cite simplicity and cleanliness as reasoning in new Mastercard study
  • Mobile contactless transactions have doubled in Europe in Q1

As Mastercard reveal that 78 per cent of all transactions across Europe are now contactless, new European research released today identifies consumer habits and viewpoints that indicates this is a consumer change that will stand the test of time.

In Europe, contactless adoption was already high – ahead of the rest of the world – and Mastercard has already committed to enabling 42 countries to raise their spending limits in order to help people everywhere benefit from the fastest and simplest way to pay.

With 89 per cent of people asked agreeing that contactless payments have been easy to adopt, nearly half (42 per cent) of people across Europe admit their use of cash has decreased throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 73 per cent of Europeans claimed that the pandemic ending won’t change their contactless usage and 64 per cent claimed this is now their preferred way to pay in-store.

Mastercard had previously seen mobile contactless transactions double in Europe (7 per cent to 14 per cent yoy in Q1) but paying contactlessly with a debit or credit card remains the most popular method (86 per cent). 28 per cent are using their mobile phone and an average of 4 per cent are using contactless enabled devices such as a watch. Overall 17 per cent have claimed they are no longer using cash at all and 40 per cent say they have actually changed which cards they use most frequently in order to use contactless payments.

In Europe Mastercard have always led the way in terms of contactless but the rate of, not just adoption, but engagement with this way of paying is clear to see. Having enabled so many countries to raise their contactless limits, we are now focused on safety and security. Our technology has always been there to help navigate the change in consumer behaviours and ensure money is kept safe so that all of the people we serve can have peace of mind in this ever evolving world of commerce.” said Milan Gauder, Executive Vice President of Product and Innovation, Europe at Mastercard.

Consumers using contactless for everyday purchases cite cleanliness (81 per cent) and ease of usage (85 per cent) as their reasons for a permanent adoption. Grocery stores are the top destination for contactless usage (87 per cent) along with other retail stores (48 per cent) and pharmacies (54 per cent). Whilst 64 per cent of consumers adopted contactless payments as a safer way to pay, there is still some work to do on offering people true peace of mind.

“Fraud problems on contactless payments are comparatively lower than chip & pin in Europe and that is still declining. Anti-fraud measures like the application of cumulative limits and sharpened fraud controls have been implemented since the contactless limits have been raise so people should feel confident that they are protected.” Rigo Van den Broeck adds, Senior Vice President Cyber Intelligence Solutions Mastercard.



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About Mastercard (NYSE: MA),
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

Notes to editors:
Data used within this news release was taken from internal Mastercard data (Source: Mastercard Data Warehouse) plus consumer research conducted as part of Global research via online interviews across 8 markets in Europe:

  • Countries included: UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Russia
  • 1,000 respondents per country
  • Research conducted April 10-12, 2020
  • Readable sample sizes of:

    • Adults – 18+
    • Primary shoppers
    • Those with medium levels of concern about COVID-19


See below for the full list of 42 countries that have raised their contactless limits:

Country Croatia Cyprus Estonia Greece Germany Ireland Latvia Luxembourg Switzerland
Current limit 100 20 25 25 25 30 25 25 40
New limit 350 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 80


Country Malta Netherlands Portugal Spain Poland UK Hungary Romania Andorra
Current limit 25 25 20 20 50 30 5000 100 20
New limit 50 50 50 50 100 45 15000 200 50


Country Uzbekistan Bulgaria N.Macedonia Albania Kosovo Lithuania Belgium
Current limit 52500 50 750 2000 15 25 25
New limit 250000 100 2000 4500 40 50 50


Country Sweden Armenia Belarus Georgia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkey
Current limit 200 12100 20 45 5000 1525 140 120
New limit 400 20000 100 100 20000 2500 200 250


Country Austria France Russia Slovakia Bosnia and Herzegovina Liechtenstein Montenegro Serbia Israel
Current limit 25 25 1000 20 30 40 20 2000 200
New limit 50 50 5000 50 60 80 40 4000 300