contactless payment

Sainsbury’s has at last rolled out contactless payment technology across all its supermarkets and c-stores following a swathe of delays.

The retailer confirmed contactless technology was now available in all branches excluding fuel stations, having begun installing contactless machines in its 780 convenience stores at the end of last year.

The rollout has been a long time coming, as Sainsbury’s initially planned to introduce contactless payment in some branches by September 2015 with a full rollout by mid-2016. Sainsbury’s said the delays were down to waiting for a major upgrade of its till systems before installing the technology.

Sainsbury’s store managers welcomed the upgrade, with one saying customers had been “vocal” about wanting contactless and another claiming it had “made such a difference in terms of ease from a customer point of view”.

The delays have put Sainsbury’s well behind many of its rivals in taking up the technology. Tesco started rolling out contactless payment in its London stores in 2014, and the Co-op and Morrisons had contactless payment in all their stores last year.

Use of contactless has rapidly grown over the past three years. The payment method now accounts for 28% of all non-cash transactions in the UK, up from 7% in 2015, according to figures by payments processor Worldpay. Total contactless spend exceeded £10bn in 2016, it calculated.

Although cards remain the most popular contactless method, Worldpay registered a 247% in mobile contactless payments such as Apple Pay and Android Pay last year. The £288m annual spend was largely fuelled by people paying for lunchtime meal deals, which accounted for 54% of all mobile tap and pay transactions processed by Worldpay in 2016.