More than 1 in 3 payments in Belgium are now contactless
- Since January 2020, the market share of contactless payments has almost tripled in Belgium: 37% of electronic transactions are now contactless, as against 13% in January;
- 262 million Bancontact contactless payments were made between January and September 2020, a year-on-year increase of 216%;
- The COVID-19 crisis has ramped up the adoption of contactless payments;
- Belgians made 4.5 times more contactless payments during Customer Weekend compared to the same period last year.
Brussels - 9 October 2020 - 2020 has been a clear turning point in the payment habits of Belgian consumers. Contactless payments, regarded as the fastest and most hygienic payment method, have grown dramatically in popularity in recent months. Worldline, the European leader in payments and transaction services, recorded 262 million contactless Bancontact payments between January and September 2020, an increase of 216% over the same period in 2019. The contactless trend was for that matter confirmed on 3 and 4 October during Customer Weekend: Belgians made 4.5 times more contactless payments with Bancontact compared to the same period last year, i.e. an increase of 353%.
Contactless payment rules!
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Belgians have increasingly been using digital payment methods, especially contactless: in January 2020, 13% of transactions were contactless (compared with 5% in January 2019); today, contactless payments account for 37% of electronic transactions. It is regarded as the most hygienic method, because to make a payment you only have to bring your card or smartphone to within a few centimetres of the terminal. Since 14 April, Belgian consumers have had to enter their PIN codes only when spending a total of more than 50 euros. When making several successive contactless card payments, they only need to enter a PIN code when the cumulative limit is over 100 euros.
Since the limit for contactless payments without a PIN code was raised to 50 euros, the number of contactless payments for amounts between 25 and 50 euros has almost tripled (26% today as against 9% before the limit was raised).
Eric Spapens, Director, Partnerships and Public Affairs Merchant Services at Worldline: “The crisis has dramatically accelerated a trend that was already under way. In addition to the advantages of contactless payment (fast, simple and secure) for both merchants and customers, it is now demonstrating health benefits as well. In Europe, more than 50% of transactions are already contactless and we could expect the same rate of adoption in Belgium by the end of the year."
Top 3 businesses with the highest share of contactless transactions in relation to total electronic transactions
1. Restaurants (including fast food and catering) 60%
2. Education and leisure 45%
3. Grocery stores (small and large) 32%
Belgians made 1.8 million contactless payments during Customer Weekend
The 4th Customer Weekend was in full swing on 3 and 4 October. Despite the rather changeable weather, many Belgians took part in this event to show their support for local businesses. As the main partners of Customer Weekend - an initiative of Comeos, UNIZO and UCM - Bancontact Payconiq Company and Worldline aimed to promote contactless payment, demonstrating just how fast, convenient and secure it is as a payment method. Worldline actually recorded more than 1.8 million contactless payments on 3 and 4 October, an increase of 353% compared to Customer Weekend last year and of 10% compared to a normal weekend in 2020. In Namur and Hasselt, the main towns hosting the event, the rise was even steeper, with +14% more contactless payments compared to a normal weekend in 2020.
€20,000 donated to charity
By making contactless payments during Customer Weekend, Belgians also contributed to a good cause. Eric Spapens: “By encouraging consumers to make contactless payments during Customer Weekend, we wanted to make the shopping experience smoother and more enjoyable, while contributing to a good cause. For each contactless Bancontact transaction carried out on a Worldline terminal, part of the cost of the transaction is donated to Digital for Youth.” This charity is committed to ensuring that all young people in Belgium have easy access to information and communication technologies, thereby helping to bridge the digital divide in our country. "We are pleased to announce that Worldline and Bancontact Payconiq Company will be donating 20,000 euros to Digital for Youth”, concludes Eric Spapens.
"We find that contactless payment by Bancontact card has become the new norm with Belgian consumers”, says Nathalie Vandepeute, CEO of Bancontact Payconiq Company. “Comparing September with January of this year, we see that the number of contactless payments using Bancontact cards has tripled. Quick and secure processing ensures a seamless payment experience, which makes the whole shopping experience complete. We’re also delighted to see that this weekend Belgians have made massive numbers of contactless payments with their Bancontact cards. Every contactless transaction has supported Digital For Youth. So we are also pleased that thanks to mass shopping, and the many contactless payments by Bancontact card over Customer Weekend, we all together have helped to put an extra smile on young people’s faces.”
Philip Du Bois, President of DigitalForYouth.be: “We are extremely grateful to Worldline and Bancontact Payconiq Company for deciding to support DigitalForYouth.be. It is partly thanks to their contribution that we can pursue our project, namely collecting laptops from companies, refurbishing them and then redistributing them to young people in Belgium. Thanks to the donation of Worldline and Bancontact, we can help 200 organisations and young people in Belgium with a laptop. Today, more than ever, digital inclusion is essential."
 Worldline figures based on the business of merchants who are customers of Worldline.
 Average for weekends in September 2020