From 6 June, the Post Office will roll out contactless payment terminals across its whole network of 11,500 branches, making it Europe’s biggest user of contactless technology.
The move is part of the Post Office’s modernisation plan, which has seen £1.34 billion of Government investment.
How contactless payment works
Contactless technology allows people to pay for goods or services by waving their contactless card over a terminal. It bypasses the need to input a PIN number, making it a secure and convenient method of payment.
As of June 2012, the amount you can pay in a single contactless transaction will increase from £15 to £20. The Post Office hopes to complete the roll out by the end of October.
Alternative ways to pay with contactless cards
Once the terminals are installed, holders of MasterCard PayPass or Visa payWave cards will be able to use them. Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds all have contactless cards in issue, so this includes customers of most mainstream banks.
Customers who have smartphones with near field communication (NFC) capability will also be able to use the terminals. The maximum payment the terminals can process will also be capped at £20.
Increase in contactless payment technology
This week has also seen contactless technology developments in retail. PayPal announced a partnership with selected shops that will allow customers to use PayPal to pay instore using their smartphones without the need to enter a PIN.
Contactless payment is an evolving sector. MasterCard PayPass is accepted in 425,000 locations in 37 countries and Visa payWave cards are used by 21 million UK consumers. Research by Visa reveals that people who use contactless technology value the speed and convenience it offers.
However, making contactless technology available to more people does not necessarily mean they will use it. Research from Mintel found that 14% of Brits have a contactless card but have not yet used the contactless capability, meaning that consumer wariness could hinder uptake of the Post Office’s initiative.