Bank of Ireland launches contactless Visa debit cards

6 Jul 2011

Bank of Ireland has launched a new contactless-enabled Visa debit card, allowing consumers to pay for purchases of €15 and under “in less than a second” by holding a card over a reader.

The card utilises near field communications (NFC) to enable contactless transactions, which are recorded on a customer’s account.

They are subject to the same level of consumer protection as all Visa cards. Once the card is used a certain number of times or above a certain value, consumers will be prompted to input a PIN to complete their purchase.

Bank of Ireland says the card is suitable for retailers, buses, trains, parking and vending machines. Outlets will display a Contactless symbol, showing that they support this technology.

NFC payments

It is hoped the card will reduce queue time along with encouraging Irish consumers to make NFC payments.

“This new technology has been firmly embraced in Europe with over 20m cards in circulation and we are delighted to be the first in Ireland to issue Visa debit cards with contactless payment capability,” said Quentin Teggin, head of consumer segments at Bank of Ireland.   

“Contactless technology is a key development in promoting electronic payment methods for low-value transactions.

“The consumer and retailer appetite is evidenced by the fact that Visa Europe recently announced that Visa contactless card numbers in issue in the UK are predicted to increase from 13m to 20m by the end of 2011,” he said.

Reducing paper-based payments

The new NFC debit cards aim reduce to the amount of cash payments made in Ireland. Seventy per cent of all transactions in Ireland are still made using cash, according to a National Irish Bank survey. The country is also one of the highest users of cheques.

“The move to contactless is aligned to the Government’s National Payments Plan to reduce cash and paper-based transactions and promote electronic transactions,” said Teggin.

“From the end of this year, counting coins to pay for items such as fast food, newspapers or coffee will be history for Bank of Ireland’s customers who choose to embrace this new technology,” he said.

According to Visa Europe, weekly spending on contactless cards has doubled in the last six months and will double again by the end of this year.