Visa has confirmed plans to roll out its contactless payment cards in the UK next year, starting in London.
Visa says the decision is supported by all its UK member banks and will enable customers to use the contactless cards instead of cash to pay for low value purchases such as coffee and newspapers.
Customers will be able to pay for purchases in participating shops by holding their cards near a secure reader. Visa says the contactless payments can be processed securely and cost-effectively in half a second.
Sandra Alzetta, Visa Europe SVP, consumer market development, says: "With over 75% of all cash payments being less than £10, the introduction of contactless payments will play a major role in encouraging the use of cards over cash for low value transactions."
Alzetta says the decision to go live with the contactless technology in less than a year supports Visa's vision for a cashless Olympic Games in London in 2012.
Visa is currently working with retailers in the country on the roll out. Further details of the precise launch plans are expected by March 2007.
The company's contactless technology has been adopted by banks in the US, including Wells Fargo, Chase Bank and more recently US Bank.