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18% Increase in Online Spending with Visa Fuels Solid Growth for the Business in the UK

UK consumers’ preference for electronic payments continued to increase in 2013 as Visa Europe announces that spending with UK Visa credit, debit, commercial and prepaid cards increased by 9.2% to £445bn. This is according to Visa Europe’s annual results for the year to 30th September 2013, which are announced today.

Spending by UK cardholders with Visa debit increased by 9.3% on the previous year. Debit payments account for over 80% of Visa Europe’s business in the UK. More than £1 in every £3 spent in the UK is now spent using Visa.

Growth was also strong in other core areas of the Visa Europe business, with spending on commercial cards increasing by 18.1% and on prepaid cards by 42.8%.

Continued uptake of new payments technologies

The UK’s partiality for online purchases was unabated in 2013 with £110bn spent at UK merchants in the year to September 2013, which equates to £3,488 being spent every second with a Visa card. This is an increase of 18% on the previous year at UK merchants. Over 25% of Visa Europe’s UK business now takes place online.

The well received launch of Visa Europe’s digital wallet, by Visa, in 2013 is testament to the increasing demand from consumers, retailers and banks for safer, more convenient ways to pay online. To date, 4,000 UK retailers have signed up to offer by Visa which is already available from the Nationwide Building Society with more banks due to launch in early 2014.

2013 was an exceptional year for the roll-out and take up of contactless payments with Visa Europe exceeding its targets in the UK for the distribution of contactless cards and the installation of terminals. Some 30.3 million cards are now in circulation with 293,600 terminals installed. Access to the payment infrastructure and education about contactless meant that usage soared resulting in contactless transactions increasing four fold in the year to September 2013, with £461.6 million spent with Visa contactless cards up from £96.7 million in the previous year.

Another key payment innovation development was RBS and NatWest making Visa Personal Payments available to their UK customers. Allowing person-to-person payments, the service enables anyone with a Visa card to send payments to another Visa cardholder via a smartphone without the need to share any account details. More than 3.1 million NatWest customers have downloaded the updated mobile banking app to date.

This early mobile payment success, the growth of contactless and the roll-out of by Visa signifies that Visa Europe is on track to realise its prediction that 50% of Visa transactions will made be made through a mobile device by 2020.

Commenting on the results and his vision for Visa Europe, Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Huss, who joined on 1st October 2013, said: “I have joined a very successful business. We have huge scale – as many Visa cards as people in Europe (500m) and €1 in every €6.50 spent in Europe is now spent on a Visa card.

“This is an excellent platform on which to build and I have four main priorities for the future. We will scale-up our next generation payment solutions to move in pace with the rapid adoption of new technologies and, more particularly, the growth of mobile and digital commerce. We will apply a disciplined commercial focus to operate a leaner, more agile company. We will work constructively with regulators to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions. And we will work more flexibly to meet the needs of our customers and partners across Europe.

“As a membership organisation focused on European solutions for the best interests of all parties in our four-party model, our continued success is good for the European economy because electronic payments fuel commerce, replace inefficient and expensive cash and fight the shadow economy. It is good for banks, issuers and acquirers, because we invest on their behalf to deliver payments innovations. It is good for retailers and businesses because we enable them to do business quicker, safer and more easily across any channel. And it is good for consumers because it enables them to pay with ease, confidence and security.”

European results

There are now 500m Visa cards in Europe. Additionally, €1 in every €6.50 being spent in Europe is now spent on a Visa card. In the year to September 2013, the total expenditure on Visa cards reached €2 trillion (€2,000,000,000,000), while point-of sale spend increased by 8.5%.

E-commerce continued to grow at exceptional speed in 2013, with a 20% year-on-year rise. This coincides with Visa Europe’s launch of by Visa, the first pan-European digital wallet service to be offered by banks and financial institutions, in four countries – France, Spain, Poland and the UK.

Contactless has passed the tipping point in many markets and is growing at lightning pace across Europe. Contactless payment is now available in twice as many countries as this time last year while transactions have nearly tripled and terminals almost doubled. At the same time, 62 mobile contactless projects are now live or planned to launch across Europe.

For more details on Visa Europe’s annual results and Nicolas Huss’ vision for the business, please visit


About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 37 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. 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.

There are 500m Visa cards in Europe, while €1 in every €6.50 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. In the year to September 2013, total expenditure on Visa cards reached €2 trillion, while point-of-sale spend increased by 8.5% to €1.4 trillion. Annual online spending on Visa cards continues to grow (20% year-on-year) and now stands at €240bn.

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.

For more information, please visit

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