'Contactless' payments exceed one million per month

Consumers have now made more than one million payments using bankcards that do not need to be swiped or inserted into a machine.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

With each passing year come more space-age ways of going about your daily routine, and now ‘tap and go’ bank cards which do not require a PIN or signature are rocketing in popularity. Barclaycard, the only bank providing the cards en masse, says it recorded more than one million transactions in July alone.

Barclaycard provides around 90% of the contactless cards currently in circulation, but the technology is becoming well known thanks to an extensive advertising campaign by the company. Barclaycard said that, according to its own study, more than 80% of people could identify the logo for contactless payments, twice as many as at this time last year. And goodness knows the folks at MT want to get their hands on one.

The cards can make ultra-fast payments for small purchases of up to £20, just by touching the card to a reader on the top of the chip-and-PIN keypad. The number of shops allowing the payment technique is growing too: there are currently around 100,000 offering the service, and analysts predict that more than 150,000 will be in operation by the end of the year.

We can’t help thinking that contactless payments are a bit of a security risk – if there is no PIN to enter or signature to give, surely this completely undermines the original idea behind introducing chip-and-PIN in the first place? Still, as it stands you can only realistically use it for buying a meal at a high street restaurant, or some stationery, or a train ticket. Basically, it’s not a disaster if you lose it and ring the bank to cancel ASAP. 

Here’s to getting your morning coffee five seconds faster than before…

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