Cards dominate as contactless retail payments break $1trn mark

The global value of contactless transactions made via payment cards, mobile and wearables, will reach $1.3 trillion by 2019, up from an estimated $590 billion in 2017, according to Juniper Research. Contactless card levels will account for 80% of total contactless transactions in 2019. Transactions via debit/credit cards will exceed $2 trillion globally by 2021.

Many markets with a relatively well established contactless infrastructure have been seeded by the card providers, albeit with varying degrees of success. Juniper found that in 2016, while cards accounted for well over 90% of transactions by value in many European markets (for example, rising to 99% in Spain), in the US the position was reversed. Mobile wallets accounted for 90% of the total contactless transactions in the US.

“Purely from a payments and convenience perspective, it will be difficult for mobile wallet providers to gain existing market share from contactless cards. It is therefore incumbent upon them to deliver innovative services through which the mobile wallet will become the default payment mechanism,” says research author Nitin Bhas.

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