Visa contactless cards to reach 12 million in UK by year end

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The number of Visa contactless cards in use in the UK is expected to reach 12 million by the end of 2010.

Visa payWave cards in circulation in the UK passed the 8 million mark in June and this will continue to climb in 2010 as more banks introduce the functionality, says the card scheme. Much of the current output can be attributed to Barclays’ decision to issue contactless cards as standard for all UK customers. The UK bank has been relentlessly promoting the cards through social media and traditional advertising channels, and working in collaboration with retailers to encourage user adoption.

Visa says the recent rise in the contactless transaction limit from £10 to £15 is also making the cards a more attractive proposition. And with 26,000 high street outlets already enabled for contactless, other banks, such as RBS, HSBC and Lloyds are expected to follow Barclays and step up their plans in the near future.

Visa says average transaction values on the cards currently runs at £4.30, with evidence emerging of an uptick in use among cardholders. Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe, comments: “In the last six months we have seen an increase of 100% in transaction volumes and we expect several more high street retailers to confirm plans to launch contactless in their shops during the rest of 2010.”