Slovakia is being hailed as a showcase market for contactless technology after the success of a project involving Visa Europe, Tatra Banka and Telefónica Slovakia’s O2 operation saw 1m contactless transactions carried out in March.

According to senior vice president at Visa Europe Sandra Alzetta, 60% of issued cards in Slovakia are now contactless enabled, and 10% of Visa transactions are contactless.

Tatra Banka, a subsidiary of Raiffeisen International Bank, introduced contactless payments in 2010. Since then it has seen the value of transactions conducted by its cardholders rise from €3.3m ($4.3m) in 2011, to €16.5m ($22m) in 2012.

Head of the retail products division at Tatra Banka Lucia Sud’ová said: “We can now say that people trust the cards; after three years there have been no customers reporting fraud (and there is zero liability). Big fraudsters are not interested in the small limits of cash on cards.”

The bank entered into a partnership with O2 at the beginning of the year to develop a ‘SIM-centric’ solution. Tatra Banka consumers with NFC-enabled smartphones can now make payments at any of the 12,000 contactless terminals in retailers across Slovakia, by replacing their SIM card at a local O2 branch.

Board member at Tatra Banka Michal Liday said: “Slovaks like innovations. Since we introduced contactless payment cards in 2010 its use has grown rapidly. And nowadays our clients pay contactless with pleasure using their mobile phone.”

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