UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has introduced contactless payments in 25 of its busiest London stores and a number of MS& Simply Food shops, after a trial at its train station outlets. The system will ultimately be rolled out across all of its UK stores.
The new facility is available for purchases of up to £20 and the technology is provided by Streamline and Visa Europe. Streamline managing director Mark Austin said the technology will “have a very positive effect on the shopper experience”. According to Visa Europe, a total of around 21 million ‘contactless’ enabled cards are in circulation in the UK, potentially rising to 30 million by the end of the year.
The introduction of quick-swipe transactions means that M&S has joined rivals Tesco and Waitrose, pharmacy chain Boots and fast food groups Burger King and McDonalds, which are among those already offering the service.
As of March 2012, there were about 110,000 contactless payment points in the UK, with 10,000 additional points coming on-stream across Europe each month.
Earlier this week the Co-operative Bank said that it plans to issue contactless payment cards to more than two million debit and credit card customers. The Co-operative has installed terminals in 172 of its food stores within the area of the M25 motorway, four in Manchester and across its entire network of pharmacies.
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However, a London summit on the industry’s introduction of the technology cautions that testing and acceptance are still at an early stage and firms should proceed with caution.
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