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1 euro in every 7 spent on a Visa card

Digital wallet coming this year

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Visa will be launching a digital wallet this year, and expects to see half of Europe's transactions being done on a mobile phone by 2020, but plastic cards are looking good too, according to Visa Europe's Annual Report.

It's no surprise that Visa is planning a 2012 launch; it has already announced that there will be a special Olympic handset with the wallet embedded, but eight years to get half of the 12 billion or so Visa payments onto mobile phones is an aggressive timetable to say the least.

Those transactions apparently account for one euro in every seven spent by consumers, across Europe, totalling €1.8 trillion, according to Visa's annual report. The vast majority of that was on debit cards, which deduct funds instantly from a linked bank account, rather than providing credit.

Visa pushed out 30 million contactless cards in 2011, and expects to issue another 20 million in 1012. That puts 50 million in use across Europe, or in punters' pockets – even if they're not choosing to use them. Card readers are steadily being updated to support contactless payments; all new readers support the pay-by-bonk tech so it's just user reluctance (or ignorance) which is preventing more-widespread use.

Three-quarters of the Visa cards in Europe are now chip-and-PIN, resulting in ongoing drops in fraud. Europe in 2011 saw the lowest level of fraud in Visa's history, though the thieves are still getting four cents for every €100 spent, the fraud has largely moved onto internet sales where the chip can't provide any protection. ®

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