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Asda to trial contactless payments

The pilot will take place at 25 of the supermarket’s stores from July onwards

Asda, the UK's second largest supermarket, is planning to trial contactless payment technology in 25 of its stores from July onwards.

The contactless payment systems will be provided by both Visa and payment value chain specialist Streamline, which claim that the technology helps retailers to reduce the costs associated with cash handling.

Asda customers will be able to tap the reader with their contactless-enabled card and pay for goods worth up to £15 (rising to £20 from 1 June) in less than a second, potentially reducing queue times.

There are approximately 20 million contactless cards in circulation in the UK today, which is expected to increase to 30 million by the end of 2012, according to Visa.

All the products run Visa's payWave application on a secure SIM card and use NFC (near field communications), a short-range communications standard, to securely transmit payment information to a contactless payment terminal.

This is the second large retailer to work with Visa and Streamline on rolling out contactless payment technology in recent weeks. WHSmith revealed plans last month to go live with the systems across 46 of its UK stores by spring 2012, where it will be focusing on major travel hubs, such as London Heathrow.

Separately, The Co-operative group is extending its contactless payment technology to more than 200 food stores and pharmacy branches within the M25 in time for the Olympics, following successful trials at 10 pharmacy and food stores.

It has chosen Barclaycard to deliver the point of sale technology for the programme, which will install the terminals at 175 additional branches by the end of May.

If the rollout proves to be a success, Co-op has said it will implement the technology across its entire pharmacy network, which makes up more than 770 branches, and to 2,800 food stores.

Andy Haywood, CIO at The Co-operative Group, said: "The Co-operative has been working hard to roll out this unique payment method across Greater London in time for the 2012 Olympics, which has been billed as a contactless event, and then its entire food and pharmacy estate by the end of the year."

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