Contactless payments launched in Liverpool

RBS WorldPay and MasterCard are launching a scheme that will see several of the city's retailers and buses adopt a contactless card system for payment

RBS WorldPay and MasterCard are teaming up to roll out a contactless payment scheme with Liverpool retailers and buses in the coming weeks.

Retailers such as Boots, as well as many of the city's smaller independent businesses, will allow customers to use MasterCard PayPass cards to pay for their purchases, the companies said on Monday. The PayPass system will also be installed across Liverpool's Stagecoach Merseyside 200-strong bus network, the first time the technology will be available on UK transport.

"In the same way that chip and PIN has revolutionised the way shoppers pay, contactless is the future of small ticket transactions," said Matt Rowsell, head of business development at RBS WorldPay, in a statement.

MasterCard PayPass systems are in use at more than 55,000 retailers worldwide, including 1,000 outlets in London alone, according to the card provider. Barclays has also been pushing ahead with contactless technology and, since March, all Barclays replacement debit cards have come embedded with NFC (near field communications) chips, allowing the user to pay for transactions under £10 by swiping their card over a reader. Barclays predicts that its entire estate of debit cards will be contactless by 2011.

A study of Liverpool retailers conducted by RBS WorldPay suggested contactless payments could help reduce the average cost of £635 lost each year by store employees giving the wrong change.