Contactless debit card payments are coming to the c-store sector, with two of the biggest c-store groups announcing the rollout of the fast transaction technology.

Earlier this month Spar revealed it was rolling out the touch and go capability to more than 1,600 stores. It was closely followed by the Co-operative Group, which plans to launch contactless readers in all of its stores by 2012. 

There are now more than eight million contactless cards in circulation, with that figure expected to rise to more than 12 million by the end of 2010. 

Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe, said the ease of contactless payment technology, which does not require cardholders to enter a PIN for transactions of £15 and under, made it a perfect fit for small stores where speed of service was key.
“The type and volume of goods sold by c-stores is also ideally suited for contactless payment where the average transaction is currently £4.30,” he said. 

At 4p for transactions between £2 and £10, contactless fees are also up to 40% cheaper than standard debit cards, although retailers expect this rate to rise as the technology becomes more widely accepted.

“There are already more than 26,000 places where consumers can pay with contactless in the UK, a large proportion of which are small independent retailers, and we expect many more stores of all sizes to embrace this technology in the coming months,” Austin added.

Budgens retailer Andrew Thornton from London’s Crouch End, said: “It’s something that I will definitely look into. Lots of my customers want to grab and go, so I can see how valuable it could be to them and to me.”

Last month high street health and beauty retailer Boots committed to trialling contactless payments using MasterCard’s contactless PayPass solution.