Barclays PLC has begun issuing contactless debit cards to its customers in the United Kingdom.

The London company said Monday that it is the first banking company in the United Kingdom to offer contactless cards as a standard product for its deposit accounts.

It began issuing the cards last month to new customers and people who were due for a replacement. Barclays said it expects most of its debit cardholders to be using them by 2011.

In 2007, Barclays began issuing a contactless credit card that is linked to a prepaid transit card account; more than 1.5 million of those multifunction cards have been issued to U.K. commuters to date.

The United Kingdom supports the Europay, MasterCard, Visa data security format, which requires people to insert payment cards in a reader and enter a PIN to initiate transactions.

The Barclays debit cards' contactless capabilities can be used only for purchases of roughly $14 or less.