Contactless transactions on the rise


Contactless POS terminal retail transactions to approach $500 billion by 2017

The global value of contactless POS (point of sale) terminal transactions, conducted in-store via cards, mobile and wearables, will approach $500 billion annually by 2017, up from an estimated $321 billion this year.

Juniper Research stated, however, that the low value nature of contactless payments means that it will only represent just 5% of the total value of all POS transactions in 2017.

According to the research from Juniper, the surge in contactless-enabled POS terminals in 2015, allied to retailer obligations to card companies in many markets to ensure that all terminals will be contactless ready by 2020, is likely to prompt an upsurge in migration to contactless payment. For example, Visa announced more than 3.2 million contactless terminals in Europe as of April 2016, up 23% from 2.6 million at the end of April 2015.

Contactless terminals now account for a significant minority of terminals in many regions (and in a majority in several national markets,) and, as of the end of 2015, numbered 15.3 million, or nearly 20% of all POS terminals worldwide.

These numbers will increase sharply over the next five years, predicted Juniper, with contactless accounting for more than two in three POS terminals by 2021.

Meanwhile, smartphone and tablet-based mobile POS terminals will handle 20% of all retail POS transaction value by 2021.

The research pointed out that the frequency of contactless payments may indeed be limited in some markets. “This is mainly due to the lack of widespread availability of supporting POS contactless reader terminals and also that some potential users are likely to remain cash-centric. For example, Germany remains a highly cash-centric economy, with cash still accounting for around 57% of in-store retail transactions by value,” noted research author Nitin Bhas.


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