Visa Europe announced its annual results today, highlighting payment technologies such as digital wallets, contactless payments and e-commerce as some of the fastest growing areas of the business.
Total spend by Visa cardholders in Europe grew by 8% to 1.3 trillion (£1.1tr) in 2012, underpinned by a 16% growth in e-commerce. Online spending on Visa cards in Europe topped 200 billion (£166bn) for the first time and now accounts for more than 20% of Visa Europe's processed business.
In the UK, total spend by Visa cardholders increased by 6.1% to £407 billion. Within that, e-commerce grew by 11.5% to £96 billion, and now represents almost a quarter of total spend.
"E-commerce has become the fastest growing part of our business and is set to grow further as the market continues to mature," said Peter Ayliffe, chief executive of Visa Europe.
"We have benefited from our investment in technology and security, which not only helped us deliver 100% processing availability and record low levels of fraud in 2012, but also enabled us to showcase mobile contactless payments at the London Olympics."
Contactless transactions quadrupled in 2012 and are expected to quadruple again in 2013, according to Visa Europe. By the end of the year there will be 33.7m contactless cards and 175,000 terminals in the UK, and across Europe there will be 70 million contactless cards and 650,000 terminals.
In an attempt to consolidate these various forms of digital payment, Visa is launching its V.me service this year, which will enable users to make online purchases via a web browser on a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile device. The service will be available through Visa's member banks and consumers will be able to put multiple cards into the wallet.
Although V.me will not include contactless payments at launch, it will eventually evolve to incorporate other Visa payment technologies. Ultimately, Visa wants the digital wallet to be the place where online transactions, person-to-person payments and loyalty services all meet.
"As we continue to see the explosive adoption of mobile devices, our priority in 2013 is to give consumers faster, safer mobile ways to pay," said Ayliffe.
"In the UK, where a quarter of all Visa card spend is online, banks representing the vast majority of UK consumers are lined up to launch V.me in 2013, providing a faster, simpler and safer way to pay online."