AIB Merchant Services launches first contactless payments terminal

17 Apr 2012

Model Karena Graham and Nigel Motyer, general manager, AIBMS, pictured at the launch of the contactless payments terminal at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Ireland's first live entertainment venue for contactless payments

AIB Merchant Services has today launched its first contactless payment terminal using near field communication (NFC) technology at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin City.

AIB Merchant Services (AIBMS) itself is a merchant acquiring joint venture between First Data Corporation and Allied Irish Banks.

The terminal was activated in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (formerly the Grand Canal Theatre), in Dublin this morning. AIB said the theatre is Ireland’s first live entertainment venue for contactless payments.

So what will this mean for consumers down the line? People who have contactless-enabled cards in the future will be able to pay for everyday items up to the value of €15 by tapping their card against a contactless-enabled point-of-sale terminal, said the bank.

No need for a PIN

The technology itself uses a wireless reader or screen, and NFC technology to transfer the information. AIB said a secure radio signal on the card’s chip is then activated when it comes into close contact with the reader, initiating the transaction. It means consumers won’t have to enter their PIN codes.

Nigel Motyer, general manager of AIB Merchant Services (AIBMS), said the transaction takes place in a matter of seconds.

With banks in Ireland preparing to start issuing Visa and MasterCard debit cards with contactless functionality to replace the Laser debit card, Motyer said it was important for AIBMS to be proactive in enabling its merchants to accept this new payment technology.

Each contactless payment transaction is recorded on the customer’s card statement.

AIB said contactless transactions are subject to the same level of consumer protection as other transactions on payment cards.

Mobile payments and NFC

NFC is already big in the mobile space. Apparently, 30m NFC-enabled handsets were shipped in 2011.

Just a few weeks ago, a report from Juniper Research predicted that NFC could facilitate transactions valued at US$74bn worldwide by 2015, with the technology increasingly being used for mobile payments.

And a few days ago, Nokia indicated it was bringing out an NFC version of its Lumia 610 smartphone, which will be able to pair with NFC accessories and tags.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic