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MasterCard Contactless Payments Tripled In Europe Last Year

European adoption of MasterCard contactless payments is growing and could be setting the stage for mobile payments adoption there.

European consumers seem to be getting more comfortable with contactless payments, which could set the stage for mobile payments adoption as consumers learn to tap, rather than swipe, at payments terminals, according to numbers released by MasterCard today. The company announced that the number of transactions made on its contactless cards tripled in 2013 and contactless payments volume quadrupled year-over-year in a statement released today.

MasterCard, in partnership with Maestro, rolled out contactless payments to a number of new markets in Europe last year including, Ireland, Macedonia, the Netherlands and Finland. More than 220 financial institutions worldwide have issued contactless cards and devices from MasterCard and Maestro, the company’s statement said.

Contactless payments have proved popular among retailers in Europe, according to Javier Perez, president of MasterCard Europe. The tap-and-go payments make for a quicker and more simple shopping experience for customers, speeding up lines at cash registers, he explained.

Contactless payments, which leverage NFC technology that is more widely available in Europe than in the U.S., could help push mobile payments along as well. MasterCard is following up on the success of contactless payments in Europe with 50 live mobile NFC payments pilots as of the end of last year. Those pilots included a partnership with Banco Sabadell in Spain on Host Card Emulation for mobile payments without the use of a mobile device’s secure element, and a partnership with the top 3 telecom providers in Germany to accelerate mobile payments adoption.

[For More on Host Card Emulation and Mobile Payments: Cutting Complexity Out of Mobile Payments]

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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