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Are contactless payment cards about to go mainstream in UK as M&S customers embrace contactless

Around one in seven card payments of under £20 are now contactless at UK retail giant Marks & Spencer (M&S), which is processing more than 230,000 tap and pay transactions every week.

Following a trial last summer at 25 stores in London, M&S has worked with Visa Europe to install contactless point-of-sale technology at 644 stores throughout Britain, enabling customers to make low value payments with the tap of their cards or NFC-enabled mobile phones.

Visa Europe says that the M&S figures are indicative of a larger trend: there are now 26.4 million contactless Visa cards and over 200,000 acceptance points in the UK today. The technology is also making its way onto London's transport network, with commuters now able to pay for bus journeys using their contactless bank card. London Underground and Overground, DLR, and trams are set to follow before the year ends.

However, there is still some resistance, with one in four Brits recently quizzed for price comparison Web site GoCompare saying that they find the idea of contactless payments 'scary', and over half saying they would be saddened by a move to a cashless society.

Nevertheless, all surveys show that most consumers believe contactless payments make life simpler and, if there were a contactless reader in the store, they would use them.

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Payments - Receipts at POS
Card Payments at POS
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