Full speed ahead for Visa swipe

VISA expects its super fast debit card to be launched in the Irish market this year — it allows small transactions be completed in one fifth of a second.

Cardholders would be able to pay for transactions under €15 by swiping their card rather than entering a pin number.

Visa Ireland said however that people would have to check in with their bank if more than €45 was used on the card which would avoid issues with theft.

The company expects these cards in the Irish market towards the end of this year. More Visa debit cards were introduced to the Irish market last year resulting in a 65.3% increase in the number of Visa cards in Ireland, with around three million Visa debit, prepaid and credit cards now in Ireland.

There was a 12.2% increase in the number of transactions, while the level of money being spent or withdrawn using a card was up 0.4% at €8.79 billion.

In the year Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank both started issuing Visa debit cards to customers in place of Laser cards.

Also last year Visa Europe opened an office in Dublin.

According to Visa €1 trillion was spent on Visa cards in Europe in 12 months to September 2010, up 16%. This growth now means that €1 in every €8 of consumer spend in Europe was spent on a Visa card, up from €1 in €9 in 2009. The number of Visa debit cards increased by over 12%.

Chief executive of Visa Europe Peter Ayliffe said: “Critical to this quality of service is our investment in technology and innovation. This has totalled €1bn in the last six years.”

The success of chip and pin technology has significantly contributed to the continued downward trend of fraud on Visa cards in 2010, according to the company with the fraud to sales ratio dropping by 14% to 0.049%.

Visa Europe, operating as a not-for-profit membership association, reported total revenues for the year of €879m.

“Despite the uncertain economic climate in 2010, Visa Europe’s strong value proposition and our continued investment in technology has maintained a growing use of Visa Cards in Europe.

“In the last 10 years Visa Europe’s share of consumer spending has more than doubled, from 5.6% to 12.5%,” said Mr Ayliffe.

In Europe, there are 419 million Visa debit, credit and commercial cards. In the 12 months ending September 2010 those cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of €1.5tn.

Visa Europe is owned and operated by more than 4,000 European member banks and was incorporated in July 2004.

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