Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on. MasterCard has advised us that it already supports tokenisation globally.

Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.

Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available on the Visa network in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too … 

While Apple has not yet announced a date for introducing Apple Pay to Europe, bank sources have suggested that the UK launch will be in the first half of this year. A job listing revealed last year that Apple had a London-based team working on rolling out the service across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa.

Visa Europe has not confirmed that Apple will be using the service, but has strongly hinted that this is the case in a statement to Reuters.

“Apple and Visa (Inc) have an agreement around what has happened,” spokesman Steve Perry said. “I am as excited as anyone, but we have to wait,” he said.

Visa had earlier announced plans to roll out tokenization for other mobile and online payment services, including Visa Checkout.

Within the U.S., Apple Pay is now supported by more than 80 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. If yours isn’t listed, you can check out our rolling list of banks which have promised to introduce support for Apple Pay, together with the stores and apps where the service can be used.