The U.K. Post Office is about to become the biggest user of contactless and NFC payments in Europe. Post Office Limited announced it will be installing contactless payment terminals across 30,000 counter positions in its 11,500 branches across the U.K to allow customers to pay using contactless cards or NFC-enabled phones.
Once the terminals are installed, card holders with Visa and MasterCard accounts will be able to use contactless cards or NFC-enabled smartphones to pay for purchases up to £20.
The installation of terminals will start this month in 200 branches around Olympic sites and should be done by the end of October 2012. It is the largest deployment of contactless technology in Europe, Post Office Limited said, and will put NFC technology within three miles of 99 percent of the U.K. population.
"Contactless will bring huge benefits to our customers by increasing choice and reducing transaction times," said Lesley Sewell, CIO for Post Office Limited.
The effort is part of the U.K. Post Office's program to modernize and improve its services. In March, Post Office Limited announced a £1.34 billion investment program to update facilities.
"Over the next few years, many Post Office branches will be transformed, becoming more customer focused, opening for longer and providing services in a convenient and efficient manner," Sewell said. "Today’s announcement further demonstrates our commitment to providing customers with more choice and great service."
This is good news for the major card brands pushing contactless and NFC technologies. Both Visa and MasterCard provided statements in support of the announcement.
"This announcement marks a major milestone in making that technology even more widely available across the UK," said Mark Austin, head of contactless for Visa Europe.
"We’re delighted the Post Office is joining us in our vision of a world beyond cash and offering more people in the UK the opportunity to use this safe, simple and smart way to pay," Marion King, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland, said.
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