Retailers' slow-burn uptake of contactless payment technology has finally ignited, with large numbers now taking on the new wave and pay-enabled terminals.

With just over a year before London's Olympic torch is lit, Visa Europe is expecting demand for the technology to soar. The system enables shoppers to make instant payments of up to £15.

"During London 2012 speed and ease of payment will be key for both convenience store retailers and their consumers, so contactless technology will really come into its own," said Mark Austin, vice-president and head of Visa contactless at Visa Europe.

Just under 20% of the contactless-enabled retailers within two square miles of Westminster are c-stores, with independent retailers and newsagents in particular leading the way. A number of Costcutter and Spar stores have also adopted the technology, and later this summer the Co-operative will roll it out to all of its Food stores.

Transport for London also plans to upgrade its Smartcard system and card readers to accept contactless debit and credit card payments on all of London's buses, tubes and trams, as well as DLR and overground trains by the end of 2012.

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