The high street retailer has carried out contactless payment trials at railway station stores, and is set to roll out the system to all its UK branches
Visa Europe says there will be 30m contactless cards in the UK by the end of 2012. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
Marks & Spencer has become the latest retailer to introduce contactless payments, initially in its 25 busiest London stores and a number of Simply Food outlets.
The contactless technology, provided by payment processor Streamline and Visa Europe, allows shoppers to buy items for less than £20.
M&S has already carried out trials at busy railway station outlets such as London’s Euston station, and is poised to roll the system out to all its UK branches.
Darren Wilson, managing director of Streamline, said: “Contactless technology is becoming increasingly popular on the high street, and we predict the technology will have a very positive effect on the shopper experience at Marks & Spencer.”
Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe, said: “We now have over 21m contactless cards in circulation in the UK, and we are excited to add Marks & Spencer to the list of retailers accepting contactless payments in all of their stores.”
In addition to the contactless Visa cards, there were more than 109,000 contactless payment points in the UK in March 2012. The number of terminals in Europe is increasing at a rate of about 10,000 a month, and there are currently more than 225,000 terminals across Europe. Visa Europe says there will be 30m contactless cards in the UK by the end of 2012.
The Co-operative Bank announced earlier this week that it is planning to issue contactless payment cards to more than 2 million debit and credit card customers.
Additionally, the Co-operative has installed terminals in 172 of its food stores within the M25, four in Manchester and across its entire network of pharmacies.