Impressive 150% year on year growth for MasterCard and Maestro contactless transactions, as merchants and issuers capitalize on opportunities

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Waterloo, Belgium – February 17, 2016 – Europeans continue to opt for contactless technology when making payments, with the total number of MasterCard and Maestro processed transactions passing the 1 billion mark in 2015 – an increase of 150% from 2014. Already in Europe, on average, 13% of in-store transactions processed by MasterCard in Q4 2015 were contactless.

New data reveal the number of cards, mobile phones or other devices tapping soared by 121%, and the total MasterCard and Maestro spend on contactless transactions was up by 183% year on year. Data also shows the number of contactless cards and devices issued to consumers increased by 50% in 2015.

The results are telling, supporting consumers’ increasingly positive attitudes towards contactless payments, which offer speed and convenience, and enhance the overall shopping experience.

But these aren’t the only factors driving this trend. Contactless payments offer a safer alternative to cash, providing consumers with the added benefit of state-of-the-art multi-layered security protection. With increased usage, comes familiarity and reassurance; more than two thirds of consumers now believe contactless technology is just as safe or more secure than traditional forms of payment.

In Europe alone, there are already over 10 countries with over 5 million contactless cards or devices in circulation for each of them. These are accepted in 74 countries around the world, including Estonia and Iceland, which have recently been added to Europe’s contactless map.

Merchants have also followed suit, with 2015 showing an impressive 72% increase in the number of contactless merchant locations compared to 2014. In fact, MasterCard estimates that MasterCard or Maestro contactless cards or devices can now be used at over 4 million merchant locations worldwide.

Chris Kangas, Head of Contactless Payments Europe at MasterCard commented: “The rise of contactless usage and acceptance is certainly encouraging, but so are the opportunities for merchants to capitalize on this trend. New research[i] has revealed that in Europe, about 48% of daily purchases are below €25, and therefore typically within the contactless tap & go limit (above €25 it is possible in most countries to tap and authenticate with PIN code). In the Netherlands and UK, this figure is even higher at 55% and 59% respectively. However, with so many transactions falling within the contactless tap & go band, and consumers proving their openness to using this technology, merchants are in the ideal position to take action and reap the benefits.”

Across Europe, there is already evidence of this. In Czech Republic, 77% (almost 4 in 5) of in-store transactions processed by MasterCard were contactless in 2015. In Poland, the figure was 55% (over half), 40% in Hungary (4 in 10), 38% in Slovakia (more than 1 in 3), 13% in Spain and 9% in the Netherlands (almost 1 in 10).

Issuers too can benefit from this onward trend in contactless. MasterCard data analysis shows that contactless capabilities and the added value this brings drives cards to top of wallet, generating higher spend. The increase in spend is not only generated from new tapped transactions, but also from a significant rise in total transactions.

Javier Perez, President MasterCard Europe, concluded: “Every day, our employees around the world are focused on making payments easier. We do this because behind every transaction is a person who benefits from a better buying experience. With contactless technology, consumers can enjoy a fast, safe and smart way to pay for everyday purchases with any MasterCard or Maestro account. Europeans are really embracing this, tapping for more of their MasterCard purchases than ever before, which in turn helps drive revenue for merchants and issuers.”

All data mentioned in this press release comes from the MasterCard Data Warehouse, unless stated otherwise.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news.

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 [i] Ipsos Research, 2015