Boots UK, which sells pharmaceuticals and beauty supplies (but not boots), has gone completely contactless. The U.K.-based company, working with Visa Europe and WorldPay, has installed contactless readers in all of its nearly 2,500 locations.
U.K. consumers made more than 8 million contactless purchases in August, Visa Europe said, with an average spend of £6.55. The growth is attributed to consumers becoming more comfortable using contactless technology, Visa Europe said, as evidenced by a 23-percent increase year-on-year in the number of contactless cards and a 135-percent increase year-on-year in the number of contactless terminals.
"Contactless payment saves time for both our customers and staff during peak trading periods by speeding up traditional card payment and reducing transaction and queue times," Nigel Shortt, head of delivery, retail, Boots UK, said in the release. "The initial stages of our rollout demonstrated that consumers enjoy the benefits of contactless payments."
Mark Austin, who heads contactless for Visa Europe, said contactless payments are growing rapidly. "Consumers and retailers [are] becoming more confident in using and offering the technology," he said in the release. "We are excited about other retailers coming on board in the remainder of 2013, and beyond."
Visa Europe said its low-value contactless payments, which are limited to £20 per transaction, are highly secure and use the same technology involved in Chip and PIN. Cardholders are occasionally asked to enter their PIN to verify their identity, the release said, and are protected against fraud loss if they take steps to protect their card and notify their bank if a card is lost or stolen.
Visa Europe said more than 5 million Visa contactless journeys have been made on London buses since December. Other merchants that accept contactless payments in the U.K. include M&S, Lidl, Costa Coffee, WH Smith, McDonalds and Starbucks. Banks issuing contactless cards there include Barclays, Barclaycard, Capital One, Duncan Lawrie, HSBC, Investec, Lloyds Banking Group, MBNA, NatWest and RBS, Visa Europe said.
Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 37 countries across Europe. Since 2004, it has been independent of Visa Inc.
Learn more about contactless/NFC.