Payments efforts in Poland, U.K., Hungary, the UAE and Turkey highlight out global payments report this week.

Visa Europe Falling Out Of Love With Bitcoin, Now Prefers Blockchain

In Visa Europe’s end-of-the-year payments wrap, it went out of its way to indicate that when it comes to virtual currencies, the Euro cardbrand has a roving eye.

“When 2015 arrived, a lot of innovation chatter in Fintech focused on Bitcoin, but as we leave the year, that focus has shifted substantially to the blockchain. If we think back to how it was perceived a year ago and then how it is understood today, it’s clear that another transformation is happening,” the Visa Europe post said. “2015 has turned blockchain into something the industry has to live with. It is no longer a choice anymore. Recent news speculating about the identity of its creator and the formalisation of virtual money as a commodity, just  makes it more real than ever before.” Interesting reading.

Polish Payments Firm Mobiltek Acquired

MCI.EuroVentures fund is set to acquire Mobiltek, which owns Dotpay, a major player in electronic payments in Poland, according to a report in PaymentWeek.

“Dotpay owns more than 12 percent share in ‘Pay-by-link,’ a leading payment form in the country’s e-commerce, which accounts for more than a third of all online payments,” the story said. “In collaboration with Polish telecom operators, Mobiltek offers premium text messages and direct carrier billing (DCB) to both local and international clients. It also offers specialist IT services for the financial sector.”

UK Contactless Spending Soars, Caused By Lifting Transaction Limit

When U.K. contactless purchase limits were increased from £20 to £30, spending soared, according to figures released by Barclaycard.

“Contactless spending has almost doubled in service stations (98 percent) and in pubs and bars (92 percent) and is up 62 percent in supermarkets and fast food outlets,” said a report in NFCWorld. “Convenience stores have seen a 59 percent rise in contactless spending following the limit increase, followed by commuter transport (55 percent), restaurants (51 percent), pharmacies (49 percent), newsagents (40 percent) and caterers (7 percent). More than eight in ten of the 2,003 UK consumers surveyed for Barclaycard say they use less cash now than they did a year ago with 19 percent admitting to becoming annoyed if they can’t pay using contactless cards or mobile devices.”

State-Owned Mobile Payments A Hit In Hungary

Motorists made 18.6 million mobile payment transactions to pay for parking and purchased 1.1 million motorway toll stickers and tickets in 2015, the first full year of operation of the state-owned uniform mobile payment system, according to a report in The Budapest Business Journal.

“Turnover from mobile parking payments (the sum of fees paid to municipalities and the state) and from sales of motorway toll stickers and tickets over the one and a half years of the systemʼs operation came to HUF 17.8 billion,” the story noted.

UAE Healthcare App Moves Into Payments

The Altibbi app, a healthcare app that allows users to connect with doctors for consultations through high-definition voice calling, has launched a mobile payment facility that will allow them to pay for services using their local mobile credit, noted a report in Capital Business.

“Subscribers to the Altibbi app, which is available to all users in the GCC, can now pay the nominal monthly subscription fee of AED 19.99 through their mobile credit. The payment will allow consumers to use features such as unlimited calls for the whole family,” the story said.

Yapi Kredi Pushes HCE Payments In Turkey

Using the Turkish bank Yapi Kredi Wallet facilitates purchases from any contactless terminal with a tap of an Android NFC device, noted NFC World.

““Yapi Kredi Wallet offers Yapi Kredi customers a variety of benefits such as displaying the closest shopping points to their location and Worldcard campaigns at these points as well as accessing credit card information such as recent shopping transactions, limit status and points information,” the story said, quoting a Yapi Kredi official.