Speaking at Cebit’s Future of Payments Conference in Sydney today, Dhun Karai, group head of financial services at Woolworths said that when the retailer went to the market looking for new payments terminals a couple of years ago the banks – with the exception of the Commonwealth – had all said that contactless payment was a distant proposition. That led Woolworths to spend millions of dollars on payment terminals without a contactless facility.
That investment is being written off with the terminals replaced with new devices able to accept payment from cards or devices equipped with Near Field Communications technology.
To have waited longer might have been even more expensive.
Ms Karai said that when the retailer started offering contactless payments its queue times dropped by almost 80 per cent. She said that time and motion engineers found that the time taken to process a traditional payment took 30.6 seconds compared to 6.4 seconds for a contactless payment.
By this Christmas “contactless will be ubiquitous,” according to Ms Karai.
According to David Birch, a director with Consult Hyperion, and an acknowledged expert on payments innovation, over the next 12 months it will be retailers that are most disruptive in shaping the new payments landscape.
Coles is another leading retailer overhauling its payments systems. The retailer, which is believed to be running a private trial of mobile phone based contactless payment, is very keen for eftpos also to go contactless according to the head of payments Douglas Swansson.
“From our perspective contactless will be the new way to pay.”