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Payment on Tap

Paying at shops, pubs and restaurants with a quick wave of a plastic card could finally be about to become part of everyday life. 'Tap and go' payments for up to £15 can be made by touching a credit or debit card against a special reader without the need to enter a PIN or wait for authorisation.

The technology is a speedy alternative to fumbling for cash for modest purchases. Last year, there were 18 billion cash transactions for £10 or less. Since its debut in London almost three years ago, tap and go has been slow to catch on. Most terminals are still in shops and coffee bars in city centres.

But this is about to change. Big retailers, including Boots, the Co-op and restaurant chain Little Chef, have all announced plans to install tap and go terminals. Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, is also testing them. The Co-op will put the payment system into 100 of its supermarkets next year while Little Chef is installing tap and go in 173 roadside restaurants. Boots is testing the cards in 21 stores.

Stuart Neal, head of UK payment acceptance at Barclaycard, says: 'We think this is a technology people want to use because it is quick and convenient.' He cites research published last week by Barclays that found shoppers were unwilling to queue for more than two minutes to pay. Two-thirds said they had abandoned a purchase because they felt a queue was too long.

Barclays has taken a policy decision to enable all its credit and debit cards to be used as tap and go as new or replacement cards are issued. It now has eight million-cards in circulation and has seen the use of tap and go rise by 60 per cent since the start of this year. Other banks, including Halifax and RBS, have issued about a further one million cards.

Source : Stephen Womack - Mail online

07 August 2010
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