The Co-operative Group has installed contactless payment terminals in 1,800 of its 2,800 food stores.

The new technology, enabling customers to buy goods worth £20 or less with a single tap, went live yesterday. The society intends to equip all of its food stores with contactless payment by early 2014.

Contactless payment is widely used within the Co-op’s network of pharmacies. The Co-op Bank is already issuing contactless debit and credit cards, with 700,000 given out so far.  

The Co-op first installed the technology in 170 of its London and Manchester food stores in time for last year’s Olympics.

“Customer reaction to contactless payment has been very positive,” said Andy Haywood, the Co-op’s chief information officer.