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The Rise of Wearable Payment Devices in Europe : More than 175 People Using Contactless


2017 marked the 10 year anniversary of the launch of contactless payment technology in the UK. It may come as a surprise to know that it has been around for over a decade but in the UK it has become an increasingly popular way to pay in the last few years. Whilst only 0.25-2% of cards were contactlessly enabled in 2007, with greater awareness and understanding contactless payments now make up 1 in 3 card payments (2017). This number is only set to rise and expand its reach as 24% (one quarter) of Europeans expect to use ‘tap and go’ contactless technology enabled through a wearable such as; bracelets, keyrings and smartwatches, according to Mastercard.

Furthermore, Mastercard revealed that spend on contactless cards grew a whopping 145% last year, indicating the willingness and confidence of consumers to adapt their behaviour and pay in non-traditional ways (cash and chip and PIN). This consumer confidence has been bolstered by a decrease in fraud concerns (-31%, UK), which plagued the early adoption of contactless technology, in addition to a reduction in barriers to use across the continent as contactless becomes a more mainstream way to pay.

Europe has been world leading in its adoption of contactless technology and displayed such ‘overwhelming success’ that it is driving an even greater demand for convenient payment options. The Netherlands is currently trialling wearable payments for leading Dutch bank ABN AMRO following the growth of contactless payment and decreased barriers. Paolo Battiston, Executive Vice President Digital Payments & Labs Europe at Mastercard, said ‘Shoppers trust in contactless is greater than ever, and in turn it seems they are ready to take this one stage further by trying contactless through connected devices’.

In the UK Social Impact and Fintech innovators, Donate The Change, are driving not only the use of contactless payment wearables but are combining secondary payment capabilities. This gives consumers a convenient way to pay whilst simultaneously enabling them to support charity and good causes without the need to carry cash. The Donate The Change contactless payment bracelets and keyrings let consumers pay for anything £30 and under wherever they see the contactless symbol and automatically donate their spare change digitally. Currently in beta, Donate The Change is lining up opportunities to expand its product catalogue to provide customers greater variety and choice when looking for wearable payment devices. The Donate The Change service capability shows the huge potential for the future of consumer payment behaviour and demonstrates the continued innovation of the digital economy.

For any business looking to combine charitable donation or secondary payment capabilities into their products please contact to see how Donate The Change could work for you.

To read our Celebrating 10 Years of Contactless blog click here.
To find more about the European contactless trends article click here. Corinne Raes,“MasterCard : Over 175 million Europeans ready to pay with wearable devices”, 22nd February 2018, 4-Traders.