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RBS and NatWest ride contactless wave

05 February 2013  |  7468 views  |  2 Natwest branch signage

RBS and NatWest have announced plans to issue over two milion contactless Visa cards to customers in the UK over the next year.

Mark Austin, vice president - contactless at Visa Europe welcomed the move: "Many major merchants like Marks & Spencer, the Post Office and London's buses are now accepting contactless payment as the service becomes a high street reality. We are expecting to see contactless transaction volumes quadruple in 2013 as momentum in this exciting space continues to grow."

Today there are almost 30 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK and around 50 million in Europe. Contactless payments are accepted at more than 150,000 terminals in the UK and a total of 590,000 across Europe.

HSBC last year announced plans to follow Barclays Bank by embedding contactless technology as a standard feature on all new debit cards in circulation. Other banks are following suit. Lloyds started issuing contactless cards around the London area in May 2010, while Bank of America's card unit MBNA and Virgin Money have also committed to rolling out the technology.

Comments: (2)

Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 05 February, 2013, 12:08

"Build it and they will come" (issue and they will use) - I don't think it's that simple in case of contactless EMV.

One needs to understand what drives banks in that respect: increased turnover that comes from cash replacement (and not user convenience as many believe). Considering that most contactless payments are via a debit card, profitability for the issuers is low.

Hence, all that hype and effort to push a low-margin "commodity" product of dubious consumer value. Don't banks have a better idea when it comes to "mobile" and "contactless"? (It's a rhetoric question as we all know the answer...)

 

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 05 February, 2013, 14:04

The only contactless I currently have is on my credit card, a card that I will not use until I have paid it off....not much of an incentive for me right now.  If it were on my debt card then perhaps I would be inclined to use it more at lunchtimes, but after the fifth consecutive time of using it I will still need to use my PIN, so still somewhat self-defeating.

Make contactless on all transactions - whatever the amount, then you will have me.  Until then it is just a novel way of paying for less than £20.

I believe there will be a payments revolution, when cash is no more and the basic materials required to make plastic are all but spent, but it won't be contactless.

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