Visa Europe has announced that contactless cards will be rolled out to two million RBS and NatWest customers over the next year, in an attempt to boost 'wave and pay' transactions in the UK.
Visa claims that there are already 26 million Visa contactless cards in circulation in the UK and contactless payments are accepted at more than 150,000 terminals at major merchants including Marks & Spencer, McDonalds, the Post Office and London’s buses.
“We are expecting to see contactless transaction volumes quadruple in 2013 as momentum in this exciting space continues to grow,” said Mark Austin, vice president of Contactless at Visa Europe.
Indeed, payment technologies such as digital wallets, contactless payments and e-commerce are already some of the fastest growing areas of Visa Europe's business, according to its annual results, published in January.
By driving uptake of contactless payment services, Visa Europe hopes to lay the groundwork for its V.me service, launching later this year, which will enable users to make online purchases via a web browser on a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile device.
Although V.me will not include contactless payments at launch, it will eventually evolve to incorporate other Visa payment technologies. Ultimately, Visa wants the digital wallet to be the place where online transactions, person-to-person payments and loyalty services all meet.
Visa Europe announced in November that RBS will be the first UK financial institution to launch the V.me by Visa digital wallet for RBS and NatWest consumers.
Commenting on the news, Steve Rubenstein, director of Everyday Banking at NatWest and RBS said: “Contactless payments will offer our customers speed and convenience for low value payments, making their day-to-day shopping experience much easier, with all the security and protection of any Visa product.”