Post Office to introduce contactless payment

Roll out begins on 6 June across 11,500 branches, making Post Office the biggest user of contactless technology in Europe

People buying goods and services through any Post Office branch will soon be able to use contactless credit and debit cards and payment-enabled mobile phones.

Post Office will start to roll out contactless payment terminals across its 11,500 branches network from 6 June in a move that will make it the biggest user of contactless acceptance technology in Europe. The roll out will be complete by the end of October.

“Contactless will bring huge benefits to our customers by increasing choice and reducing transaction times,” said Lesley Sewell, chief information officer at Post Office Ltd.

Contactless technology allows customers to pay for goods by waving their card over a specially designed sales terminal without the need to input a pin.

Once installed, holders of MasterCard PayPass or Visa payWave cards will be able to use the readers, along with the limited number of people with Near Field Communication (NFC) equipped mobile phones. Payments using the technology will be limited to up to £20.

HSBC recently became the latest bank to begin arming its customers with contactless cards. In May, it started a gradual roll out of such cards to customers as their current cards expire.

Barclays/Barclaycard has been the undisputed leader in contactless card provision, with almost all its credit and debit cards now contactless. Royal Bank of Scotland, which includes NatWest, has some contactless debit and credit cards in issue, while Lloyds has issued 1.5m contactless cards (including those held by Halifax customers), which will rise to 2m by the summer.

Post Office’s announcement comes on the same day that internet payments giant Paypal announced it had teamed up with the clothing chain that owns Warehouse, Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen to allow its customers to pay instore using their mobile phones

From Thursday, all the four women’s clothing stores owned by the Aurora Fashions Group will be equipped with scanners that can read a unique barcode generated by the Paypal inStore mobile phone app.

The app will be linked to the mobile phone owner’s PayPal account and accessed through a unique Pin. Once the barcode is scanned, payment is taken from the PayPal account. The system works whether or not there is a phone signal in the stores.

“Today marks the start of a quiet revolution in the way we shop on the high street. We’ve created a simple, secure way to use a mobile phone to pay in your favourite stores,” said Cameron McLean, managing director of PayPal UK.

Paypal has been trialing its technology in a similar tie-up with Pizza Express over the last year but it said the Aurora deal was the beginning of a bigger push on to the high street that will see it team up with more stores throughout 2012. The PayPal inStore app is available for Android and Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad) devices.

Global analysts Gartner predict worldwide mobile payment transactions will grow dramatically from $105.9bn (£68bn) in 2011 to $171.5bn this year. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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