The Post Office is introducing contactless payments to its network of branches, providing the largest deployment of near-field communications (NFC) technology in Europe.
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The British institution will provide contactless payment terminals at 30,000 counters across all of its 11,500 branches in the UK.
The roll-out will begin with 200 branches on 6 June, focusing on Post Office locations circling the Olympic Games site in East London. The plan is then to install the other terminals by the end of October this year, meaning the roll-out will be completed in just five months.
The terminals will accept either MasterCard PayPass or Visa PayWave cards for transactions up to £20 – higher than the usual £15 limit enforced by the likes of Tesco and
However, it will also be ready for the growing number of NFC-enabled mobile phones hitting the market, as well as Barclaycard’s stick-on sensors for mobile phones – of which the limit of £15 is being raised to £20 from June.
Both MasterCard and Visa have backed the scheme publicly, with Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe, calling it a "major milestone" in making the technology even more widely available across the UK.
Lesley Sewell, CIO of the Post Office, said the new technology was just an example of how the company was set to get more customer focused in the coming years, with longer opening hours and no more branch closures.
“We are delighted to be delivering cutting-edge technology through the Post Office network,” she said.
“Contactless payments will bring huge benefits to our customers by increasing choice and reducing transaction times. Today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to providing customers with more choice and great service.”