The technology, provided by Visa Europe, enables consumers to simply touch the reader with their contactless cards, or enabled mobile phones’ to pay for goods under £20 without the need to enter a PIN.
Contactless payment continues to grow in popularity, with around one in seven (14%) M&S card transactions under £20 now completed by this method. The service is proving particularly popular with busy customers on the move, with a quarter of contactless payments processed at self checkout points in the Food Halls.
Sacha Berendji, Retail Director at M&S commented: “Contactless and mobile payment is set to be an exciting part of the future retail landscape. A contactless payment takes place in less than a second, creating a quicker, easier and more convenient shopping experience. Customers are already embracing these benefits and through our roll-out we’re ensuring our stores can cater for customers’ changing shopping habits.”
UK’s contactless hot spots
The contactless roll-out followed a successful trial in 25 London stores last summer. Although London stores continue to have the highest levels of contactless transactions, M&S is seeing increasing use of contactless cards in other busy urban centres including Manchester, Croydon and Reading.
Richard Cooke, Store Manager at M&S Finsbury Pavement, which completes around one in three of its card transactions under £20 by contactless, commented: “In busy central stores that receive a huge lunch time rush, contactless payment is helping to revolutionise the customer experience. Self check out tills are already very popular, but contactless helps reduce queue times even further, giving customers a payment option that’s even quicker than cash.“
The rewards of debit card spending
M&S Bank launched its current account in September 2012, which is supported by a contactless Visa debit card. M&S current account customers earn one point for every £1 spent at M&S using their Visa debit card.
New research from M&S Bank highlights how customers are becoming increasingly savvy about the benefits of shopping via debit card and over half (51%) admit that the ability to collect loyalty points now influences how they shop. A quarter (24%) of Brits reveal they use a debit card more frequently than they did a year ago, with four in ten of these shoppers preferring to use a debit card rather than carrying cash.
Contactless payments are fast gaining momentum. In addition to the 26.4 million contactless Visa cards, there are over 200,000 contactless acceptance points in the UK today. The number of terminals in Europe is increasing at a rate of approximately 10,000 per month, with more than 750,000 terminals across Europe today. Visa Europe predicts there will be over 33 million contactless cards in the UK by the end the year. Contactless card payments also benefit from the Visa network’s multiple layers of security.
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