MBNA Europe Bank Ltd. will issue roughly 5 million contactless credit cards to its customers in the United Kingdom as part of a two-year initiative.
A representative for Bank of America Corp., which owns MBNA, declined to comment on the rollout, which will involve cards carrying both the Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. brands. Consumers who use the contactless feature may make purchases of up to $24 without having to use their PIN.
MBNA wants to "support the evolution of contactless technology in the U.K.," Ian O'Doherty, Bank of America's Europe card executive said in an Oct. 29 press release.
In a recent MBNA survey of more than 1,000 U.K. credit cardholders, 80% of respondents said contactless cards would help reduce how long they wait in lines, and 69% said the technology would make their lives easier, according to MBNA.
The barriers for card issuers no longer are consumer-focused because most consumers have readily taken to the technology, Matt Simester, director of Auriemma Consulting Group in the U.K., said in an interview. The focus now should be on merchant acceptance, he said.
Roughly 26,000 merchants accept contactless payments in the U.K., according to Visa Europe.
"I believe that by 2015, all credit cards in the U.K. will be contactless-enabled," Simester said.