Retailers embrace “tap and pay”

More than 1,000 London retail outlets including Threshers and food chains Yo Sushi! and Eat have signed to offer “contactless” payment facilities. The so-called “tap and pay” system, such as used on Transport for London’s Oyster payment network, is being launched in the autumn.

Other retailers that have signed up ahead of the launch include doughnut brand Krispy Kreme, Coffee Republic, Books Etc and the Science Museum. It follows news that Barclaycard has this week launched a £4m advertising campaign for OnePulse, its combined credit, Oyster and debit contactless card.

Payment providers Mastercard and Visa will both offer contactless cards, which allow transactions of up to £10 without the need to sign or enter a pin number via their member banks. The system, which is already popular in the US through outlets including fast food chain McDonald’s, aims to speed up payments and reduce queues.

Barclaycard is the first brand to launch a marketing campaign to support its products. Both Mastercard and Visa are expected to launch campaigns to support their technology, which both support the same tills, in the coming weeks as well as pushes from individual member banks.

Mastercard northern Europe head of strategy and planning Oliver Steeley says there will be a raft of marketing activity promoting the cards and systems over the coming months. He says Mastercard would be running tactical advertising ahead of the scheme launch.

Barclaycard chief marketing officer Elizabeth Chambers says there has been a “surge” of retailers and other stores planning to adopt the technology.

“Cashless payments are starting to become a reality,” she says.

In May industry body APACS confirmed that cashless systems would be in place in central London this autumn before being rolled out across the country from 2008.

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