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Contactless UK is on the way

By davebirch posted Nov 23 2006 at 7:40 PM

[Dave Birch] More contactless action. The Visa UK Board of Directors has announced the nationwide roll out of contactless payment cards across the UK, starting in London, by the end of 2007. Sandra Alzetta, Visa Europe Senior Vice President Consumer Market Development, and sponsor of last years' Digital Money Forum, said: "With over 75% of all cash payments being less than £10, the introduction of contactless payments will play a major role in encouraging the use of cards over cash for low value transactions. In addition, the decision to go live in less than a year supports our vision for a cashless Olympic Games in London in 2012."

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This strategy, which appears to be to begin rolling out dual-interface cards next year, shows how rapidly the contactless meme is spreading. It could be that for most issuers, it's cheaper and easier to just migrate chip & PIN to dual-interface as they are replaced naturally rather than to segment and issue in specific geographies where terminals are being installed. But as Tim Jones mentioned in his podcast, in retrospect geography didn't work for Mondex and VisaCash, so it's better to go for branded ubiquity (eg, all NCP car parks) than focus too tightly on specific areas. And don't forget, it may take a while to upgrade a million POS terminals to contactless across the UK -- years, in fact -- but how long will it be before there are a million NFC phones (ie, personal POS terminals capable of accepting contactless payments) in the UK? With the MasterCard pilot already underway in Edinburgh, it looks as if a contactless UK is on the way.

My opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public. [posted with ecto]


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