There are set to be 250m contactless cards in use globally next year, according to research from Juniper.

The rise will be driven by the international migration to EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) standards-based chip and PIN and improved contactless support from retailers.

According to the report – Contactless Payment Cards: Market Prospects 2013-2018 – growth in usage will initially be driven by early adopter markets such as Australia, Canada, Poland and the UK.

In the medium term, user numbers will be enhanced by substantial takeup in the US following the mandated transition from magnetic-stripe cards.

In the UK growth has been boosted by travel cards as well as retail usage, with more than 3.5m London bus journeys paid for via contactless payment cards since November 2012.

It also highlighted the strong retailer proposition offered by contactless, with faster throughput at checkout, reduced cash handling and increased customer retention allied to an opportunity to use contactless as a mechanism for greater consumer engagement in the form of loyalty cards.

However, the report cautioned that despite recent deployments, contactless POS terminals still accounted for a small minority of the total in nearly all markets, meaning that opportunities for usage were still severely constrained.

Report author Windsor Holden said: "We’re still at a comparatively early stage in the consumer contactless journey. Awareness of – and confidence in – the technology needs to increase substantially before we move to true mass adoption."

Other findings from the report include:

  • Growth is being fuelled by increased contactless transaction limits in key markets, and
  • Where multiple contactless cards are presented in a wallet at a card reader, it is possible for the wrong card to be charged

Contactless adoption has been smothered to an extent by security fears and consumer and retailer unawareness.


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