The biggest credit card provider in Europe MBNA began a two-year plan to switch millions of UK credit card customers over to the new contactless technology1.
This new initiative by the credit card lender will mean there will be over five million contactless-enabled MBNA-issued credit cards by the end of 2011. This will be over and above the ten million credit and debit cards already in the UK with contactless technology. By the end of 2012, this number is expected to rise to an estimated 25 million2.
The credit card lender will aid the UK’s changeover to the contactless payment system by making sure all new and replacement MBNA credit cards are compliant with the new technology. Purchases of no more than £15 can be made with the technology, but using the card is fast and simple. Consumers simply need to touch their card to the terminal wherever they see the contactless symbol, without having to enter their PIN Number. The technology is also fully compatible with Visa and Mastercard systems.
Ian O’Doherty, the Europe Card executive for Bank of America, the company that heads the MBNA brand, explained: “This new two-year plan to make all new and replacement credit cards contactless is yet another step in our support for the contactless technology evolution in the UK. It’s also a way of making our commitment to giving our customers value, simplicity, and choice when it comes to our products a reality.”
A recent survey by MBNA of 1,000 credit card users showed huge public support for the contactless credit card system. The biggest benefits they see in the system are ease of use and speed.
An overwhelming 80% felt the contactless system would be faster when paying for items and waiting in queue. More than three quarters of the respondents felt the system would be easier and a positive move for businesses while 63.5% said it would be beneficial for consumers.
Questions, concerns, and credit card security issues may cause some consumers to hesitate, but MBNA has worked diligently to educate and spread the word about the multiple layers of security included in the new cards.
The contactless credit card technology will not be enabled until after the PIN has been entered for the first time. The contactless system will also not work on purchases of £15 or more. To ensure the purchases are valid, customers will be asked for their PIN on random transactions. If credit card theft or fraud should occur, innocent MBNA customers are fully protected.
There is nothing required on the part of the customer to get started with the technology; MBNA credit cardholders will automatically received contactless cards when they’re issued a new or replacement card.
1Contactless credit card technology is a secure alternative to cash when making small cash purchases of £15 or less. This eliminates the needs to enter a PIN number and speeds up the payment process. To use the card, consumers simply need to touch the card to the terminal reader.
Adoption of the technology is increasing. Prêt a Manger, Caffé Nero, and Subway already use contactless credit card technology, and many other large retailers such as National Trust gift shops, Little Chef restaurants, Boots, Spar, and Co-op are currently testing or installing the technology in their stores.
2Go to http://www.contactless.info/
3Research for MBNA was completed by Opinion Matters. The research, held between 04/10/2010 and 08/10/2010, included 1,000 respondents who all hold credit cards. The research performed adheres to World Research Guidelines (ICC/ESOMAR) and UK MRS Codes of Conduct (2010).