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Visa Annual Cardholder Expenditure Exceeds €1trillion on Debit Cards for the First Time in Europe

Annual spend on Visa debit cards across Europe has exceeded €1trillion (€1.02 tn) for the first time. The figure represents an annual increase of 8.8%, reports payments technology company Visa Europe, which today announces its annual results for the year ending 30 September 2012.

Despite the challenging economic climate, total spend by Visa cardholders grew by 8.0% to €1.3 trillion. This was underpinned by a 16% growth in e-commerce, the fastest growing part of the Visa Europe business. Online spending on Visa cards in Europe topped €200 billion (€202bn) for the first time and accounts for more than 20% of Visa Europe’s processed business. €1 in every €6.75 spent in Europe is on a Visa card, a figure that rises to £1 in every £3 in the UK.

Growth was also strong in other core areas of the Visa Europe business, with spending on commercial cards increasing by 17.6% and on prepaid cards by 18.3%.

In the UK, total spend increased by 6.1% to £407bn with spend on debit cards increasing by 7.1% to £360bn. E-commerce grew by 11.5% to £96bn, representing almost a quarter of total spend.

As a membership organisation, Visa Europe operates a high volume, low cost business model that provides services to its members. For the second year running, Visa Europe revenues exceeded €1billion (€1.11bn) and the company achieved a pre-tax surplus of €260 million that will be reinvested into the business and to improve capital and reserves.

Visa Europe has invested over €1billion in its technology and infrastructure over the past six years, building a robust and secure European payments platform from which to deliver the next generation of payment technologies. The company continues to deliver unparalleled payments safety for consumers, merchants and retailers, with its fraud to sales ratio at an all-time low for the second year running (Europe-wide: 0.04%; UK 0.05%).

2013 will see the rollout of V.me by Visa, Visa’s first integrated digital wallet, in the UK, France and Spain. In the UK, banks representing 80% of all consumers are already committed, while by 2020, Visa Europe believes that one-third of all European consumers will be using the V.me wallet.

V.me by Visa allows consumers to complete online transactions with just one click after login through the internet browser on their smart phones, tablets, PCs or laptops, using cards from multiple providers. V.me is exceptionally secure, shielding customers’ card details from online merchants and supported by multiple layers of Visa security technology. The V.me service will continue to evolve to incorporate other Visa payment technologies, including contactless transactions at the point of sale and person-to-person payments.

2013 will also see the continued rollout of contactless payments for card and mobile devices. Contactless transactions in Europe quadrupled in 2012 and Visa Europe expects to repeat this growth in 2013. Across Europe, in 2013, there will be 40 issuers offering mobile contactless payment services to consumers and by the end of 2013 around 80 types of smartphone will be certified by Visa to carry out contactless payments

Peter Ayliffe, Chief Executive, Visa Europe said:

“Visa Europe has performed strongly in the past year despite tough economic conditions, demonstrating the continued resilience of our business.

“Debit, which accounts for almost 80% of Visa card spending in Europe, continues to grow strongly while e-commerce has become the fastest growing part of our business and is set to grow further as the market continues to mature.

“We have benefited from our investment in technology and security, which not only helped us deliver 100% processing availability and record low levels of fraud in 2012, but also enabled us to showcase mobile contactless payments at the London Olympics. This investment also underpins the rollout of new payment technologies in 2013.

“As we continue to see the explosive adoption of mobile devices, our priority in 2013 is to give consumers faster, safer mobile ways to pay.

“The past six years have been about preparing and building the European payments infrastructure to support European commerce and the delivery of new payment technologies. The year ahead will see us putting mobile contactless payments into consumers’ hands, and introducing digital wallets on a mass scale for the first time.

“In the UK, where a quarter of all Visa card spend is online, banks representing the vast majority of UK consumers are lined up to launch V.me in 2013, providing a faster, simpler and safer way to pay online.”



About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 36 countries across Europe.

Visa Europe works at the forefront of technology to create the services and infrastructure which enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. It is not a credit card company, almost 80% of its business is on debit cards, and its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees.

Visa Europe operates a high volume, low cost business model that provides services to its members. Its surplus is reinvested into the business and used to improve capital and reserves. In the last six years, Visa Europe has invested over €1 billion in new technology and infrastructure.

Since 2004, Visa Europe has been independent of Visa Inc. and incorporated in the UK, with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. Both companies work in partnership to enable global Visa payments. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments.

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