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Spain’s largest retail bank, La Caixa, has begun deployment of contactless payment cards and terminals across Barcelona, said a report at ft.com. The move represents the largest rollout of "tap and go" technology in Europe.
The bank will issue 1 million wireless computer chip cards to customers for use at 500 contactless ATM terminals installed across Barcelona, and at 17,000 payment terminals that La Caixa will deploy to ensure customers can pay with a single tap everywhere from the largest department store to the smallest tobacconist’s shop.
Barcelona will be the first European city in which the technology will be so widely used. It was selected as a starting point because La Caixa hopes to showcase the technology during next month’s Mobile World Congress, the key trade show for the mobile phone industry.
"The payment industry is changing and we want to have a leading position in this technology. It is a tool that creates a lot of convenience for customers, and will increase the share of card payments," Antonio Massanell, managing director of Caixabank, said.
La Caixa, which has 10.5 million customers, carried out pilot programs for the payment system in Sitges, a small town in Catalonia, and in the Balearic Islands, which Mr Massanell said had been a "great success."
Some 86 per cent of cardholders in those trials said they preferred using contactless cards, and merchants saw a 23 per cent increase in sales volumes.
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