By Katja Jakobs and Kristin Savatova
The ECB monitors developments in the euro area payments market to ensure that payment systems operate smoothly and that people have access to various means of payment. By analysing payments statistics, the ECB also identifies the latest trends, such as the growing use of contactless card payments. This data has been collected since the first half of 2022 and has now been published for the first time.
53.8% of all card-based payments in the euro area were contactless in the second half of 2022. In 13 of the then 19 euro area countries, more than half of all card payments were contactless, reflecting strong demand for this technology across the euro area.
Contactless payments are made at point-of-sale terminals that do not require customers to insert or swipe their card when paying. Customers simply hold their card, payment-enabled smartphone or wearable device close to a card reader equipped with the contactless technology. Making contactless payments is secure, fast and convenient. Secure, because the data on the contactless device is encrypted. Fast, because customers usually do not need to enter their PIN. And convenient, because there is no need to carry cash for small purchases. Compared with the previous six-month period, the share of contactless payments as a percentage of all card payments increased by almost one-fifth in the second half of 2022 compared to the previous six-month period.
 The data is based on the number of transactions.
 There were 19 countries in the euro area in 2022. Croatia became the 20th member country in January 2023.
The views expressed in each article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the European Central Bank and the Eurosystem.