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Cards in space: Nationwide takes contactless to the edge of the earth

13 October 2016  |  11258 views  |  3 Contactless in space

Nationwide has taken the contactless card to the edge of space, conducting a payment from a weather ballon at 100,000 feet above the earth in temperatures of minus 30 degrees.

At an altitude more than three times higher than Mount Everest and as cold as Antarctica, Nationwide worked in partnership with First Data to develop a specially designed Clover Mobile terminal to process the pioneering transaction.

In order to successfully complete the feat, engineers worked to design a robotic arm, which would make the payment and to build a casing to protect the terminal from the elements.

The equipment was then connected to a weather balloon and programmed to make the payment once it reached 100,000 feet. After a number of test launches, the highest ever contactless payment was made on the 12 October 2016, taking off in rural Shropshire, ascending at over 15 meters per second to reach a final altitude of 101,050 feet.

Paul Horlock, head of payments at Nationwide Building Society, says: "Making a contactless payment at 100,000 feet presented unique challenges to our team, but it seemed a fitting celebration of this remarkable technology and our plans to roll out contactless capabilities to our credit cards later this year."

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 13 October, 2016, 10:39

Great Marketing gimmic, but blows a hole through the principles of 'tap and go'! A biometric transaction at 100,000 feet will be interesting! ;0)

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 14 October, 2016, 12:04

As new banks are testing card payments on Earth, traditional banks have already gone to outer space! This could be a giant leap for banking http://qwt.io/s_ketharaman/xHMM

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 14 October, 2016, 16:20

I wonder what Nationwides policy is on Lost/stolen fraud. I can see the call centre person buying the ' I sent my card to space' excuse.....

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