One card payment in ten is contactless
An average of 917,000 card payments a day were made in the third quarter with bank cards issued in Estonia, and at least one payment in ten was contactless. An average of 108,000 contactless payments a day were made, 3500 of them abroad.
The banks in Estonia have only been issuing contactless cards for a couple of years. During this time the share of cards that are contactless has increased rapidly and at the end of September 41% of all the cards that had been issued were contactless. Contactless payments need not only a contactless card but also a contactless-enabled terminal. At the end of September, 71% of all the 40,000 or so sales terminals in Estonia were contactless-enabled. The banks forecast that by 2020 all terminals will be.
Statistics from the European Central Bank for 2017 show people in Estonia to be among the keenest users of cards in Europe. An average of 135 card payments were made per resident in the European Union in 2017, but in Estonia the average was 238. This puts Estonia in seventh place in Europe, with the top three places taken by Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The average size of card payments in Estonia is one of the smallest in Europe. The average size of card payments made in Estonia in the third quarter was 16.4 euros, and card payments abroad averaged 28.2 euros. The average contactless payment in Estonia was 6.8 euros, and abroad the average was 14 euros. The limit on contactless payments in Estonia and most other European countries is 25 euros, and larger purchases need a PIN to be entered. The PIN is sometimes requested for smaller payments too, to verify that the purchaser is really the cardholder. A cardholder who loses a contactless card should act as they would for any other lost card and contact their bank as quickly as possible to close the card. It is also wise to check the account statement from time to time to ensure that all the payments on it were actually made by the cardholder.
The banks are working to make card payments quick and easy for sums above 25 euros too. This would mean that the card would not need to be inserted in the terminal when making a payment, but could used contactless with a PIN.
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