[Dave Birch] I have the results of another interoperability test for you. Yesterday I used my UK Barclaycard OnePulse in a contactless terminal at a coffee shop in Singapore and not only did it work perfectly, it was very fast and very convenient. More, please! My expectations have been raised to the point where I was really disappointed that Ben & Jerry’s didn’t take contactless and I was forced to resort boring old-fashioned cash. The coffee shop was the textbook case for the cash-replacement low-value contactless transaction: why can’t more of the coffee shops in London have it? Oh, wait…

It looks as if my future coffee-buying habits in London will be at least temporarily changed. No more Costa for me, it’s off to EAT because

Fast food joint EAT has become the first retailer in the UK to introduce a fully integrated contactless payment system at the point-of-sale.

[From Finextra: UK retailer EAT installs integrated contactless payments system]

This is a big step, if you ask me. One of my common whines about contactless in London is that the POS terminals aren’t integrated so that you can’t just automatically wave your card or phone: you have to ask the retailer to use it and they have to rekey, so the arrival of integrated POS systems will make a big difference to the customer experience:

When I waved my card at the reader, nothing happened. The woman serving me asked if I really wanted to use the “terminal”. I said yes. She said: “It will be an extra five pence”. I said that I still wanted to use it — I am nothing if not dedicated to gathering practical experience — and so she rekeyed the amount into a separate POS and indicated for me to wave again. Which I did, and it worked. Nevertheless, something that should have been fast and convenient was in practice slow and inconvenient (and expensive).

[From Digital Money Forum: Slow penetration]

By the way, it sounds as if I’ve been having more luck than some other people who have been trying contactless.

This week, visiting three different grocery chains in New Jersey,I tried unsuccessfully to use my contactless card there. The first time, a cashier looked at me as I asked about using my contactless card. “It never works,” she said. In what way? “It will take the card and then tell you that the card’s been declined. But if you then slide it (magstripe scan), it will instantly go through.” Showing kinship with Iowans, I tried it. Sure enough, it errored in the exact way the cashier had described. I deliberately tried the same effort at two other chains, discovering the same problem, with cashiers and managers telling me that it’s common.

[From StorefrontBacktalk – Contactless Cards Proving To Be More Paymentless Than Contactless]

The introduction of contactless payments will, it’s no surprise, take some time. But shouldn’t the payments industry help the process along by at least making sure that the transactions work?

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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