Woman using self service ice cream van

Ten years of contactless

04 September 2017

The very first UK contactless payments card, the ‘Barclaycard OnePulse’, was launched in September 2007. The innovative card combined Chip and PIN, contactless payment and Oyster functionality. It kicked off a payments' revolution that has seen £60bn spent using contactless and six in ten Brits now choosing to pay with their contactless cards.

When the OnePulse card launched, contactless could be used to pay at 22,000 Oyster terminals at 6,000 retailers. Barclaycard worked with retailers to update their payment terminals so they could accept ‘touch and go’ technology. The first retailers to accept contactless were coffee shops and fast food outlets including EAT and Pret A Manger, allowing them to serve more customers in less time.

In 2011, Barclaycard joined forces with Orange to launch the first mobile device that allowed users to make contactless payments, and just a year later the PayBand was launches the first wearable payment device.

By 2013, annual contactless transactions reached £1bn for the first time and the following year saw a further expansion as TfL began accepting contactless cards at station barriers, allowing customers to skip queues at ticket machines.

Throughout the UK there are now more the 106 million contactless cards which can be used to pay at almost 500,000 payment terminals. What’s more, two in five retailers who accept contactless, plan to become completely cash-free in the next five years.

“Over the past decade contactless payments have transformed how we shop, travel and trade, making buying and selling quicker and easier,” said Tami Hargreaves, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at Barclaycard Mobile Payments. “Today there is more choice than ever – from card to cash, mobile payments and wearables. And this is only set to increase with innovations such as our ‘Grab+Go’ invisible payments concept, which allows consumers to scan and pay with a smartphone without the need to visit a physical check-out.

Grab and go

“Our data shows that the uptake and usage of contactless payment technology continues to grow, with paying by ‘touch and go’ now the preferred way to pay for many Brits. We’re looking forward to continuing to innovate by introducing a number of new initiatives over the next 10 years”.

Explore the contactless timeline

Barclaycard 10 years of contactless

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