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HSBC now offer contactless payments

10 May l 2012

HSBC is the latest bank to issue contactless debit cards in a move that will allow customers to pay for goods with a "tap" at the Olympic Games.

The bank has started a gradual roll out of the contactless cards to customers whose debit cards expire this month. It will continue the process as other cards expire rather then sending all customers new cards.

Anyone who receives a card in the next few weeks will be able to spend up to £15 using the contactless technology. This will increase to £20 from 1 June.

HSBC says customers who do not want this type of card can opt out by contacting their bank before their card expires.

"Contactless technology is an efficient and secure way for customers to pay for goods, with a clear time-saving advantage over alternative forms of payment," Barnaby Jenkins, head of cards for HSBC said.

"By starting to issue cards now customers will be able to take advantage of the contactless payment pads that are being installed in Olympic venues."

Contactless cards allow customers to pay for goods by waving their card over a specially designed sales terminal without the need to queue or input a Pin. Every sales terminal at Olympic venues will allow these "wave and pay" purchases.

Transport for London has said users of London's 8,000 buses will be able to hop on and pay by swiping their bank card in time for the start of the Olympics, with the system being rolled out to the tube, Docklands Light Railway and overground network before the end of 2012.

HSBC is one of the few remaining major high street banks to arm at least some if its customers with contactless cards. Barclays/Barclaycard has been the undisputed leader, with almost all its credit and debit cards now contactless.

Royal Bank of Scotland, which includes NatWest, has some contactless debit and credit cards in issue, while Lloyds, a major financial Olympic sponsor, says it has issued 1.5m contactless cards (including those held by Halifax customers), which will rise to 2m by the summer.

There have been concerns over security with the contactless technology, although HSBC said its customers will "enjoy the same protection against fraudulent transactions as with the existing chip and Pin system."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/may/09/hsbc-joins-contactless-payments-movement

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