Contactless – ‘the age of convenience has arrived’

Payments expert tracks the rise of the latest addition to the nation’s Soap Operas.

Contactless payments are to make its big screen debut following the news that primetime British soap operas Coronation Street and Emmerdale have both agreed deals with Visa Europe to use the technology during the shows. Marshall Haldane, director of global card manufacturer, allpay Card Services, states that this news further demonstrates how the technology is becoming more readily accepted by consumers and retailers alike.

“With contactless transactions hurtling towards the mainstream – and even making an appearance in the UK’s prime time soap opera– this is another example of how the masses are continuing to embrace the technology that’s set to rise again this year.”

He explained: “Initially the market was slow in its adoption, punctuated by initial security scares and a chicken & egg scenario between banks and retailers, but it looks increasingly like we will see 2015 become the year in which contactless payments is widely embraced.

Recent Data from WorldPay revealed contactless transactions leapt by 150 per cent over the last six months, as the technology became adopted across London’s transport network and the word itself was adopted into the Oxford Dictionary.”

Haldane enthused: “So what has been the tipping point? Did convenience conquer, did the banks take a leap of faith, or did we all just get fed up of counting change?”

He continued: “Certainly, the roll-out of the technology on the tube and bus networks in the capital has made a huge impact, not just practically, but in the mind-set of consumers. More than 19 million journeys using contactless payment cards have been made on the tube since Transport for London introduced the payment method in September 2014.

Additionally, this is now widely-acceptance at retailers from Waitrose to Lidl, food and drink outlets from McDonalds to Starbucks – and the evolution of the smartphone as an enabler of card-like payments has ultimately created a perfect storm of industries, banks and consumers coming together to drive the technology forward.

“Research also consistently shows that once people use contactless for travel, they increasingly use their cards over cash for other small payments too. However, with consumer confidence rocketing, the banks cannot afford to drag their heels,” he said.

Haldane continued: “According to the UK Cards Association, more than 94 million contactless transactions were made in 2013 – treble the number during 2012. Additionally, more transactions took place in the first 10 months of last year than those registered over the previous six years put together. While banks such as Barclays and TSB have seized the moment, others have been slower to embrace contactless, a position they can ill afford to take.

“The technology is also accelerating the decline of cash as the dominant force on the high street, particularly for lower value transactions – the average contactless transaction being nearly £8.

“Figures from the British Retail Consortium show that the availability of contactless cards has contributed to the increased use of debit cards to 50 per cent of retail sales value in 2013, up by 11 per cent over the last five years. Over the same time period there has been a decline in the average debit card transaction value, and in use of cash by 14 per cent,” he said.

allpay Card Services is fully approved to manufacture and personalise both MasterCard® and Visa cards – including contactless and dual interface products – and both of the processing networks have lofty ambitions for contactless.

Haldane stated: “Visa Europe, for instance, predicts that Brits will make 500m contactless payments in 2015, while MasterCard has announced that all its shop terminals across Europe will accept contactless payments by the start of 2020 .And with the limit on payments increasing to £30 this year and the further widespread enablement of contactless payments via Near Field Communication – NFC – chips built into phones and wearable technology, the age of convenience has arrived. We have lift off,” he concluded.