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14
May
2009

Boots trials MasterCard PayPass contactless payment system

POSTED BY Global Administrator
Boots is set to be the first UK high street retailer to trial a contactless payment system. It is working with MasterCard to allow customers to pay amounts under £10 via their MasterCard PayPass cards, without having to enter a PIN at stores in London and Liverpool. Barclays and Barclaycard welcomed the news – they said that Barclaycard has thousands of live terminals accepting contactless payments throughout the UK.



Great news! Regular readers of this blog may recall a post of mine a couple of weeks ago about Nokia’s new NFC phone. With these contactless cards as the forerunners of contactless payments by NFC phones, there is a clear route to the brave new cashless world.  



The issue is that the general public must become familiar with contactless payments for them to take off. Maybe this is stating the obvious but in the mobile industry it’s easy to forget that we’re not the people who will determine mass acceptance of a change to everyone’s daily activity of paying for purchases.



Yes the ecosystem has to enable us to do this.



But it’s a case of making people familiar. The Boots development and the live Barclaycard terminals at coffee and sandwich shops are critical in increasing awareness because we’re all in a hurry at such shops, which is where contactless payments come into their own as a special fast track checkout.



Reports suggest that there around somewhere around 3m contactless cards issued in the UK, and with NFC phones not yet widely available, contactless payments have some way to go in the UK at least.

But, as one industry expert told me: “NFC is on the fast train to the high street.” Which high street retailer will be next to make an announcement after Boots? Who knows but once one or two board the fast train, the rest are sure to follow!