Visa Europe, the European payments system, announces another year
of double digit growth, with nearly 350 million Visa cards now in
In a year of significant change in the European cards market, Visa
Europe reported increases in excess of 11% in terms of cardholder
spending at point of sale and the number of retail transactions in the
year to 30 September, 2007.
Visa Europe began 2007 with full SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area)
compliance one year ahead of the 1 January 2008 deadline. By the end of
2007 over half of all Visa cards and POS terminals in Europe now use
chip and PIN technology. Europe leads the world in the deployment of
this technology, providing optimal card security and the most advanced
technological platform for payment innovation.
Investments in innovation bore fruit with the first consumer roll outs
of Visa payWave, Visa’s contactless payment solution for low-value
transactions, in London and Istanbul.
Deployment of Visa Europe’s state of the art processing systems with its
4,600 member banks was completed. This purpose-built European processing
system is four times faster than competitors and establishes Visa Europe
as the largest inter-bank card processor in Europe with a total of six
billion transactions processed in 2007.
V PAY, the chip and PIN-only debit card, is now a reality in Germany and
Italy, and in total 22 banks in eight countries have committed to issue
20 million V PAY Cards, a success due to V PAY being more secure and
cheaper to operate than existing domestic debit schemes. In other
European markets, Visa Debit cards have continued to grow and a major
success was the decision of HSBC to switch its near 10 million UK debit
card portfolio to Visa Europe, in recognition of the strength of the
Visa brand and its global acceptance.
Fastest growth has been in commercial cards with business and government
using card payments for a further 26.5% of their spending. The Visa
Government Procurement Card celebrated its 10th anniversary with 34%
increase in programmes in eight countries.
Peter Ayliffe, Visa Europe President and Chief Executive, said: “In the
year leading up to the implementation of SEPA, Visa Europe has led the
payments market in delivering new products and services to replace cash
and cheques, and this is reflected in strong growth in use of our cards.
V PAY is a reality for consumers. We have raised the bar in the field
of processing with a system built and operated in Europe that is faster
and cheaper than competitors’, and delivered a revolution in low-value
transactions with Visa payWave.
“European consumers realise the significant benefits of paying by Visa.
Card payments benefit everyone because they are more efficient, more
secure and more convenient. It is a major achievement that the
proportion of total consumer spending in Europe with a Visa card has
reached 11.4%, 72.5% with a Visa debit card. This shows that we are
delivering on the goals of SEPA and translating them into real benefits
for our banks and their customers, the cardholders and retailers who
About Visa Europe
In Europe, there are over 348 million Visa debit, credit and commercial
cards. In the 12 months ending September 2007, those cards were used to
make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of over ÃÂ¢ÃÂ¬1.3 trillion.
11.4% of consumer spending at point of sale in Europe is with a Visa card.
Visa Europe is a membership association – an organization owned and
operated by its 4,600 European member banks – that was incorporated in
July 2004. In October 2007, Visa Europe became independent of the new
global Visa Inc., with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual license
As a dedicated European payment system it 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.
Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition,
Visa/Plus is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering
cash access in local currency in over 170 countries.