In the UK, the ‘Co-Op’ becomes first major food retailer to roll out contactless technology

The Co-operative Food will become the UK’s first major grocery retailer to introduce contactless payment in its stores nationwide after joining forces with Barclaycard.

The roll-out will begin with a pilot in 100 Co-operative food stores next year after an agreement was signed with Barclaycard in partnership with Visa. If the pilot is successful, The Co-operative will roll out the terminals to the majority of its food stores in time for the 2012 Olympics, which is being billed as a contactless event, where visitors are expected to experience the full convenience of contactless payment on transport, tickets and other low value purchases.

Sean Toal, Commercial Director, Food Retail, The Co-operative Group, said: “This is a great opportunity for The Co-operative to work in partnership with Barclaycard to become the first major food retailer in the UK to roll-out this unique payment method. It has received an excellent reception from both customers and retailers where it has been launched overseas and is ideal for our store portfolio.”

Mark Hale, Director of Food IS, The Co-operative Group, added: “Contactless payment has huge benefits for our customers. In essence, this innovative technology will mean increased customer choice and faster transaction speed, which will vastly improve the customer experience.”

Contactless payment will also increase throughput as research has shown that a large number of customers will walk out of a shop if they see an excessive queue length.

Stuart Neal, Head of UK Payment Acceptance at Barclaycard, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that The Co-operative is joining forces with Barclaycard to roll out contactless payments across all of its stores. For a household name such as The Co-operative to commit to the technology really shows that it is the future of payments, and we are looking forward to working with them to further enhance the in-store experience for their customers.”

Contactless payment, which is already commonplace and proving popular in the USA and Asia, is ideal for transactions where speed is essential, especially at supermarkets and petrol stations. Roll-out of contactless payment in the UK began in 2007 and there are now over nine million contactless enabled cards in circulation, with latest reports forecasting over 12 million in circulation by the end of 2010.