July 5, 2016
Countries have been adopting contactless slowly but two countries in the European Union stand out – the Czech Republic and Poland. These countries have adopted the system so quickly since its introduction that currently, there are 0.79 contactless cards per person in the Czech Republic and 0.57 contactless cards per person in Poland while other countries in European region such as Romania, Greece and Spain have 0.09, 0.10 and 0.17 cards per capita.
In our recent study, it was found that consumers in these countries feel that banks provide more secure wallets. In addition, since the number of payment cards per capita was 0.95 in Poland and 1.00 in Czech Republic, it was easier for banks to push for contactless cards to their customers. All the major banks in the Czech Republic and Poland have adopted the contactless payment system and have pushed the same to its customers. Banks such as Kormercni Banka, Sberbank, Raiffeisen Bank, Unicredit Bank and GE Money Bank are providing contactless services in the Czech Republic while nine banks in Poland (NG Bank Śląski, mBank, Bank Millennium, Raiffeisen Polbank, Eurobank, Getin Bank, Bank Polskiej Spółdzielczości, Bank SMART and Bank Zachodni WBK) have adopted contactless together.
Furthermore, the contactless ecosystems in these two countries have not only evolved in terms of cards but also the terminals where contactless cards could be used. The Czech Republic has one contactless POS for every nine contactless cards while Poland has one contactless POS for every 13 contactless cards. These numbers are quite attractive as the percentage of contactless POS in the Czech Republic and Poland are 76% and 70% which is higher than the rest of the European countries where the average is approximately 21%.
A point to note is that governments have been instrumental in the rapid adoption of contactless cards in these countries. The government has partnered with payment companies to make buying tickets easy for commuters. Contactless cards can be used in the Czech Republic and Poland while paying the fares for bus and mass transit services respectively. Moreover, these two countries have no upper limit for using contactless cards and allow consumers to purchase high-value items just by using their pin numbers.
In a nutshell, these two countries have set a perfect example of contactless adoption by creating an ecosystem in which all the major parameters such as ease of transaction, reachability and sense of security have led to the rapid adoption of contactless cards.