MBNA and Virgin Money embark on UK contactless card roll outs

MBNA and Virgin Money embark on UK contactless card roll outs

Bank of America's card unit MBNA and Virgin Money have both committed to rolling out contactless credit cards to millions of UK customers over the next two years.

Bank of America says that by the end of 2011 more than five million MBNA-issued credit cards - both Visa and MasterCard compatible - will have contactless technology.

For security purposes, the cards cannot be used until a PIN is entered on first use and customers will occasionally be asked to enter their PIN to ensure the transactions are valid.

Virgin Money will start replacing two million credit and debit cards this month and expects one in five will be enabled for "tap and go" payments of up to £15 at equipped terminals by the end of the year.

The move comes as a survey from MBNA reveals strong public backing for the technology. Of over 1000 respondents, 80% agree it would help save time in queues when paying for items, and 69% believe the emerging technology will make their lives easier and benefit consumers.

Ian O'Doherty, Europe card executive, Bank of America, says: "We are committed to offering simplicity, added value and choice in all of our products and services - enabling our customers to use contactless payments is a fantastic example of making that commitment a reality."

The pair are following Barclays and Barclaycard into the market, which claims to have issued eight million of the 10 million contactless cards in circulation. It says that between January and August this year, it recorded a 188% increase in monthly contactless transactions.

Commenting on Virgin Money's decision, Dan Wass, head, current accounts, Barclays, says: "It is great to see that another card provider is joining Barclays and Barclaycard in offering consumers the convenience of contactless payment."

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