All card payment terminals will be able to handle contactless payments by 2020

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The latest review of the payments market by Eesti Pank states that all card payment terminals should be able to handle contactless payments by 2020. More and more innovative solutions will appear in Estonia alongside the traditional payment solutions.

“The development in the global and Estonian payments markets in the past 30 years has been impressive. We were proud in Estonia in 1992 that banks started to use electronic settlements between themselves, then a year later the first bankcards were issued in Estonia. Today we can make contactless payments and during this year residents of Estonia will be able to make instant interbank payments”, said Mihkel Nõmmela, Head of the Payment and Settlement Systems Department.

He explained that only SEB Pank is currently offering instant payments to its customers in Estonia, while the other banks are introducing the system. “When all the banks bring instant payments to the market, both private individuals and companies will gain as money starts to move between banks in only seconds”.

Contactless payments are made with a bankcard, where the card does not need to be inserted into a terminal and confirmed with a PIN code, but only held near to the terminal. Contactless payments make paying quicker and so shorten the time spent waiting in queues. Upper limits are set on payments for security reasons, and payments up to that limit can be made without entering a PIN code. The upper limit on contactless payments in Estonia has currently been set at 25 euros. To protect client security, the PIN can also be requested when a contactless payment is made.

Contactless payments have been possible in Estonia since 2016, when the banks started to issue contactless cards and upgrade payment terminals. By September 2017, 17% of all the cards issued in Estonia were enabled for contactless payments, and by the end of the year 85% of card terminals could take contactless payments.

The first contactless card in Europe was issued in 2007 in the United Kingdom, where one card in four is now contactless. The countries where contactless cards are most common are the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.

The Eesti Pank review of the payment market is not published in English and can be found in Estonian on the Eesti Pank website.


Additional information:
Eva Vahur
Public Relations Office
Tel: 668 0965, 533 00619
Email: eva.vahur [at] eestipank.ee
Press enquiries: press [at] eestipank.ee