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Visa: educating consumers is essential for success of contactless

Visa V.Me in action

Making sure that consumers are fully aware of the capabilities of contactless technology is on top of Visa's agenda according to Jon White, Head of Marketing, Mobile Strategic Alliances at Visa Europe.

We briefly met with the company recently at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to talk over, Visa's digital wallet service that was launched last year.

London as a pioneer

Contactless has been around for a while and most Londoners have been using it to travel as Transport For London (TFL) drove the adoption of Oyster card as a replacement for paper ticket.

The other major milestone has been the recent push for contactless debit and credit cards to be used in lieu of Oyster, something that is seen by Visa as a tipping point for the technology.

As a consequence, more than 9 million journeys on buses have been carried out in London alone on PAYG with the scheme being set for a full roll out across TFL's network (Overground, Tube etc) later this year.

The potential market is immense; there are more than 32 million contactless cards in the UK alone and more than 100 devices certified Visa across Europe.

Smartphones driving contactless

The average transaction on contactless is around £6 but that is set to increase as Visa seeks to raise the limit for contactless payment by adding extra security layers and by working closer with retailers and financial institutions.

The rising number of smartphones with NFC capabilities is also another major area of growth with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 boosting both NFC and biometric features.

The smartphone display for example allows for a much richer experience compared to just plastic and Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology is likely to drive adoption even further.