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Visa,Barclaycard Bring Contactless Payment To O2

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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Payments of up to £15 can now be made by contactless cards and mobile phones at the O2

Queues for snacks and drinks at the O2 in London could be significantly reduced from today as contactless payment technology is introduced to the multi-purpose venue.

Visa and Barclaycard have rolled out the technology across 250 payment terminals throughout the venue and will allow visitors to make payments of up to £15 using their contactless credit or debit card or an NFC enabled mobile phone.

Olympic goals

Research has shown that on event nights, 75 percent of electronic transactions in arena concession stands are under £15 and it is hoped that the implementation of the technology at bars, restaurants and merchandise stands will speed things up and let people enjoy events with minimal interruption.

“The hospitality sector, with high volume low value transactions, and often lengthy queues is the perfect application of a technology that makes it quicker and easier for people to make payments,” said Richard Armstong, head of payment acceptance at Barclaycard, “As a result, we’re confident that contactless technology will prove popular with visitors to The O2 Arena.”

Visa and Samsung have announced plans to distribute contactless-enabled mobile phones to sponsored athletes ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in London and it is hoped that the technology, currently in use at the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament this week, will reduce queues when the O2 hosts the gymnastics competitions and basketball finals.

“The O2 Arena is a key venue for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and this is the first step towards equipping it with the payments technology infrastructure to support the influx of visitors that the Games will bring,” commented Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe, The popularity of contactless and ultimately mobile payments will only continue to grow as consumers recognise the benefits to their lifestyle – faster payments, easier transactions and, best of all, less time spent hunting in pockets for the right small change.”

First contactless

Visa and Barclays have been keen supporters of contactless payments in the UK, issuing 15 million debit and credit cards and installing terminals at more than 56,000 locations, and it has been predicted that 85 percent of point-of-sale terminals in the world will be contactless enabled by 2016.

In May, Barclaycard, Orange and Samsung launched a virtual wallet for contactless payment by mobile phone, the first Near Field Communcation (NFC) payment scheme to be based on a mobile phone in the UK, while networks O2 and Everything Everywhere have also announced plans for contactless.

However it seems that the technology still has some way to go before it wins the confidence of consumers, with Brits remaining sceptical of the potential security risks.