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Wave and pay

In recent years, many of us in the UK and other countries have had to learn about chip and pin as a security method when we pay for things using a credit card. Wave and pay is the next new idea in the field, which is described formally as a contactless payment card.

The card works by a radio-frequency detection method that requires the card only to be placed close to the merchant’s terminal for the details of the transaction to be transferred and logged. The main value of the system is that it’s fast, so small transactions — at newsagents, fast-food outlets, coffee shops and pubs, car parks, ticket machines and the like — can be carried out without causing queues to lengthen unnecessarily.

The concept is already being used in the US and other countries. In the UK, a scheme has been recently announced to begin next summer. It will run in association with Transport for London and the new cards will double as the Oyster cards that for some years commuters in London have used in a similar way to pay bus and tube fares.

Card issuers, including Chase and KeyCorp., have been building U.S. consumers’ familiarity with the habit of “wave and pay” technology by issuing a total of about 10 million contactless credit and debit cards.

Banking Strategies, Nov 2006

Visa signed a deal with Barclaycard to offer a new generation of “wave and pay” plastic cards for small change purchases such as the morning paper, a bus fare, a loaf of bread or a pint of beer.

Daily Mail, 14 Dec. 2006

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 6 Jan. 2007

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World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
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Last modified: 6 January 2007.