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Sainsbury’s Local To Get Contactless ‘Before Christmas’ But No Word On Larger Supermarkets

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Sainsbury’s lack of support for contactless has been noticeable, but the supermarket has confirmed the first stage of rollout

Contactless payments are almost ubiquitous on the high street, with even smaller retailers taking advantage of cheaper options like iZettle, but Sainsbury’s has been a notable exception.

Shoppers can frequently be seen tapping their cards on non-compatible readers to the point where staff have applied notices stating ‘no contactless’.

However contactless payments will be possible in most Sainsbury’s Local stores before the end of the year, the supermarket has confirmed to TechWeekEurope.

“Our customers will find an expected item in the bagging areas soon – we are in the process of introducing Contactless payments in our stores. It will be in the majority of Sainsbury’s Local stores by Christmas,” said a spokesperson.

Sainsbury’s contactless

Sainsburys GreenwichHowever it is unclear when contactless will arrive in larger stores. TechWeekEurope understands a rollout is on the cards but there is further information available as yet.

The rollout contactless cards, along with the UK launch of Apple Pay and Android Pay, has resulted in wide adoption. According to research from Visa, 58 percent of people in the UK have used contactless cards in 2016, up from 20 percent in 2015, and the technology is taking off across Europe.

“The uptake of contactless cards has made a significant impact on normalising digital payments in the minds of British consumers, regardless of age,” said Kevin Jenkins, UK & Ireland Managing Director at Visa. “The near-ubiquity of contactless card usage is gradually helping everyone engage with newer ways to pay, including mobile banking.”

A number of observers believe the convenience of contactless will mean non-cash payments will exceed those made with cash within five years – something for Sainsbury’s to consider when devising a timeline for its rollout.

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