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Post Office To Become Biggest User Of Contactless Tech in Europe

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Post Office will rollout contactless 30,000 payment terminals from June

The Post Office is set to embark on what it is calling the largest deployment of contactless payment terminals in Europe.

Terminals will be rolled out at 30,000 counters across its network of 11,500 branches, meaning 99 percent of the UK population will not be further than three miles from the technology.

Largest in Europe

“We are delighted to be delivering cutting edge technology through the Post Office network,” said Lesley Sewell, chief information officer at the Post Office. “Contactless will bring huge benefits to our customers by increasing choice and reducing transaction times.  Over the next few years, many Post Office branches will be transformed, becoming more customer focused, opening for longer and providing services in a convenient and efficient manner.”

Roll-out of the terminals will begin on 6 June at nearly 200 branches around venues of this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

Holders of MasterCard PayPass or Visa PayWave contactless cards and Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled phones will be able to pay for transactions up to a limit of £20. The PayPass system is supported by smartphones made by a number of manufacturers including RIM, Nokia, LG, Samsung, Sony and HTC, while PayWave is used by the special edition Samsung Galaxy S III that will be provided to certain athletes at the Olympics.

Standardisation

“MasterCard PayPass is already accepted in 425,000 locations in 37 countries,” said Marion King, president of MasterCard UK and Ireland. “We’re delighted the Post Office is joining us in our vision of a world beyond cash and offering more people in the UK the opportunity to use this safe, simple and smart way to pay.”

“There are over 21 million contactless Visa cards in the UK today and by the end of the year there will be more than 30 million around the country,” commented Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe. “This announcement marks a major milestone in making that technology even more widely available across the UK.”

Earlier this week, Stagecoach and Everything Everywhere announced they were going to hold a contactless payment trial on buses in Cambridge, but not everyone is convinced of the benefits of NFC technology. PayPal has argued it will be out of date before it is widely available.

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