PayPass and PayWave - going live from September

It looks as though my previous comments about the UK slacking when it comes to implementing RFID (contactless) credit and debit cards are behind the times, as APACS has announced a firm timetable for the UK to adopt the technology.

Starting in September, MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave RFID cards will be accepted across several post codes in London, from the City to Canary Wharf (EC2, EC3, EC4, E1, E14, SE1 and SE16).

The initial launch will involve a mix of retailers and selected cardholders who regularly use their cards in these post codes either to buy goods or take cash out of cash machines.

After the initial launch the upgrade will expand across London until, in the New Year, there will be a gradual national upgrade in 2008.

According to APACS, this will involve card issuers replacing debit and credit cards to their own timescales, and card-accepting businesses will be encouraged to accept contactless transactions for transactions of under a tenner.

So far, the following card issuers have announced plans to upgrade their debit and credit cards to support RFID facilities - Bank of Scotland; Barclaycard; Citibank; Halifax; HSBC, Lloyds-TSB and the RBS Group, which includes Natwest.

Other institutions will no doubt hop on to the bandwagon in the months ahead and, says APACS, by the end of 2008. five million PayPass and payWave cards are expected to be in use at around 100,000 merchants.

Unlike other country implementations, Visa and MasterCard say that PINs will be required on a random security basis, and that transactions will be limited to a tenner...