Big UK Merchant Asda to Trial Contactless Payment

Large UK retailer Asda will pilot contactless payment starting in July at 25 of its stores, Visa Europe announced today.
The chain, a subsidiary of giant U.S.-based retailer Wal-Mart Stores, has only agreed to trial the technology, not to roll it out to its 500 stores in the United Kingdom. Most of the chain’s stores are supercenters or hypermarkets.
At present, there are 105,000 contactless terminals in place in the UK, most at small shops, Visa told NFC Times. The highest profile UK merchant so far rolling out contactless acceptance is McDonald’s, which agreed last year to equip all of its 1,200 locations in the country.
But other big merchants, including Starbucks and Tesco, the latter the largest retailer in the UK, are holding back from nationwide deployments.
This summer, however, Transport for London promises to become the biggest “merchant” to date accepting contactless credit and debit cards, when it launches open-loop fare collection on its 8,500 London buses.
The transport authority has vowed to be ready to accept the contactless bank cards on the buses in time for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. 
There are about 20 million contactless bank cards in circulation in the UK today, most support Visa payWave or MasterCard PayPass. Foreign open-loop credit and debit cards will also work on the buses. And it’s possible the buses could accept payment from NFC phones if the payment applications are not prepaid, which requires different authentication.
Supercenter retailer Asda has agreed to trial contactless payment in the UK at 25 stories this summer, though the major merchant has not committed to a national rollout at its 500 stores.

Large UK retailer Asda will pilot contactless payment starting in July at 25 of its stores, Visa Europe announced today.

The chain, a subsidiary of giant U.S.-based retailer Wal-Mart Stores, has only agreed to trial the technology, not to roll it out to its 500 stores in the United Kingdom. Most of the chain’s stores are supercenters or hypermarkets.

At present, there are 105,000 contactless terminals in place in the UK, most at small shops, Visa told NFC Times. The highest profile UK merchant so far rolling out contactless acceptance is McDonald’s, which agreed last year to equip all of its 1,200 locations in the country.

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