NFC payments coming to McDonalds in the UK

McDonalds has revealed plans to install contactless payment technology in all of their UK restaurants this summer, The Mirror reports. Around £1.5 million is being invested into the scheme, which will see the system being placed in 1,200 restaurants. Jill McDonald, speaking to Your Money, said that the scheme "could prove a real tipping point for contactless payments in this country in the same way as us introducing free Wi-Fi did for internet on-the-go".

NFC technology has already seen success in London's Oyster card system but elsewhere in Britain has only been used in a few cases. Contactless payment systems have been installed in Caffè Nero and Subway, with further trials taking place in Boots and the Co-Op, but Visa Europe's Mark Austin believes McDonalds "could bring contactless to the masses".

Contactless is unlikely to completely replace chip-and-pin primarily for security reasons, as the system requires no identification for a payment to be authorised. In McDonalds' case, there is a maximum limit of £15 on contactless payments before a chip-and-pin reader will have to be used instead.

12 million NFC-enabled payment cards are out in the wild, but this figure is forecasted to rise to 25 million by next year. By having a big name like McDonalds announcing their support for the technology, a two-fold increase in cards by 2012 may not be as much of a stretch as previously thought. If rumours of Apple building the technology into the next iPhone come to fruition, it might not be too long before we see the payment pads alongside every chip-and-pin reader.

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