Marks & Spencer has introduced contactless payment in 25 stores across London, including its flagship Marble Arch, Stratford City and White City branches and a number of Simply Food stores.
These stores are expected to go live throughout summer 2012.
The contactless technology, provided by Streamline and Visa Europe, enables consumers simply to touch the reader with their cards for everyday items under £20.
Transactions take place in less than a second, giving both retailers and consumers speed and convenience.
For retailers, contactless payments help to reduce the costs associated with cash handling and the related security costs of having cash on site.
Darren Wilson, managing director of Streamline, said: “Contactless technology is perfectly placed to speed up transactions and reduce queuing times. It is becoming increasingly popular on the high street and we predict the technology will have a very positive effect on the shopper experience at Marks & Spencer.”
Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe, said: “We are delighted Marks & Spencer has decided to adopt contactless technology and believe the introduction of this service will be of great value to their customers. We now have over 21 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK and we are excited to add Marks & Spencer to the list of retailers accepting contactless payments in all of their stores.”
Contactless payments are reported to be fast gaining momentum. In addition to the 21m contactless Visa cards, there were over 109,000 contactless acceptance points in the UK in March 2012. The number of terminals in Europe is increasing at a rate of approximately 10,000 per month, with more than 225,000 terminals across Europe today. Visa Europe predicts there will be 30m contactless cards in the UK by the end of the calendar year.