Kevin Jenkins, Regional Managing Director, UK & Ireland

Since its launch on London’s transport network in September 2014, contactless journeys have been more than a convenience; the popularity of using your debit, credit or pre-paid card to pay as you go has exceeded even the most starry-eyed expectations.  Today, Visa Europe announces that, in the lead-up to Christmas, it crossed a major threshold of more than a million Visa cardholder journeys in a single day, demonstrating once again how contactless is becoming the new normal when people are making their everyday transactions.

Contactless now represents 25% of all pay-as-you-go transactions on TfL, with nearly 9 out of 10 contactless riders have chosen their Visa cards to get around London.  With the launch of wearables like bPay and the Apple Watch, as well as the uptake of mobile NFC payment services, people are finding it easier than ever to use Visa to pay for their journeys in London in a way that fits their lifestyle.  And, throughout 2016, we expect to see usage continue to grow as more wearables are launched and new mobile NFC payments services come online.

TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, Shashi Verma, said: “Contactless payments on TfL services has been a huge success. A quarter of our pay as you go customers use contactless payment already because it is so quick and easy and there have been more than 250 million journeys made using cards from over 80 countries. As more people update their cards and see the benefits of this quick and easy to use technology, we’re confident this number will increase even more.”

In December, alone, Visa Europe saw a 166% annual increase in the total number of journeys by people who used their Visa card to pay as they travelled, and a total spend for the year of £339 million.  That’s 7x growth in total spend on the year.   And that’s just the beginning – next year, Visa will also support TfL’s launch of contactless acceptance in London’s iconic black cabs.  As London is one of the world’s leading economic centres, we are projecting tremendous enthusiasm for this new way to pay from the millions of business travellers that visit the city every year.  Additionally, this will give black cabbies around the city a powerful tool to compete with ride-share companies.

Contactless travel is one of many ways cities can help cater for growing levels of urbanization, leveraging technology to ensure high levels of service efficiency.  Operators can reduce the costs of ticketing through contactless while improving the customer proposition, and growing ridership on sustainable means of public transport.

Partnering with TfL from the outset, Visa Europe has helped drive what has become a game changer for both the payments and public transportation worlds .  On the back of this success, other metropolitan transit authorities throughout Europe are looking into contactless technology to improve and simplify their fare collection systems.   For Visa, public transport provides another venue to normalize contactless payments, making it part of a routine behaviour for consumers.  But, more importantly, we help our partners drive down their costs while delivering to their customers a better, faster, and more efficient service – the very definition of a win-win-win proposition.

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