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European mobile payments triple

News, 13 October 2016

LONDON: Consumer adoption of digital payments has shifted dramatically in Europe over the past year, according to a new survey that found the proportion who regularly use a mobile device to make everyday payments has tripled.

Visa, the financial services firm, polled more than 36,800 online consumers across 19 European countries for its 2016 Digital Payments Study and found that 54% of consumers now use a mobile device to make payments for a range of activities. This compares to just 18% in the same survey Visa conducted last year.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of UK consumers regularly use their mobile device to manage their money or make a payment in person, online or in-app, the report found.

And more than half (59%) of these UK consumers use their mobile devices to transfer money to friends and family, while 45% use them to buy takeaway meals.

Visa said it was interesting that these users say they are as comfortable making larger purchases on their mobiles as they are with everyday payments.

According to the findings, 43% make high-value purchases, such as holidays and electronic goods, while 42% use their mobiles to pay household bills and 41% use them to purchase bus or train tickets.

"This data is a confirmation that the future of digital payments has arrived, with consumers across the length and breadth of the UK and Europe embracing a variety of new ways to pay," said Kevin Jenkins, Visa's UK & Ireland Managing Director.

"Visa sees smartphones and wearables as the beginning of a broader trend, with millions of new connected devices making it simple, safe and secure to integrate daily commerce transactions into almost any technology," he added.

The research also showed that all age groups in Europe are adopting mobile banking services, with the highest growth rate of 33% attributed to older consumers aged 55 to 64, while millennials aged 18 to 34 registered growth of 24%.

Visa also suggested there is evidence of a correlation between the increase in digital payments and the growth of contactless technology across Europe.

For example, more than half (58%) of the 2,000 consumers polled in the UK say they have used contactless cards this year, up from 20% in 2015.

"The uptake of contactless cards has made a significant impact on normalising digital payments in the minds of British consumers, regardless of age," said Jenkins.

"The near-ubiquity of contactless card usage is gradually helping everyone engage with newer ways to pay, including mobile banking."

Data sourced from Visa; additional content by Warc staff