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Visa boosts contactless card issue

Visa is to increase the number of "touch-and-go" cards in issue from eight million to 12 million by the end of 2010.

Banks are increasing their uptake of the contactless card, with Barclays the strongest proponent. Barclays expects most of its customers to use the cards by 2011.

Bank of Scotland, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland already offer contactless cards or are working on their own offerings.

Contactless cards allow customers to wave their cards in front of a terminal to pay for low-priced items. Visa attributes the increasing attractiveness of the cards to the rise in transaction limit from £10 to £15.

Many UK retailers are already using contactless, such as coffee shops Eat, Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero. Other retailers such as Poundland and Boots are trialling the technology.

"In the last six months we have seen an increase of 100% in transaction volumes and we expect several more high street retailers to confirm plans to launch contactless in their shops during the rest of 2010," said Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe.


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