Nationwide has completed the world’s highest ever contactless payment – more than three times higher than Mount Everest and as cold as Antarctica - as a poll names ‘tap and pay’ technology as one of the most convenient innovations of the 21st Century.
It is predicted that the number of contactless cards in circulation in the UK will break 100 million for the first time later this year, with over £1.8 billion spent on contactless cards during June 2016 - a year-on-year increase of more than 230 per cent.
Research from Nationwide shows the use of ‘tap and pay’ has truly taken off. This is despite more than half (57%) of Brits being surprised that contactless payment technology caught on in the first place.
The survey of 2,000 people captured the rising popularity of contactless, putting it among the top five most convenient innovations of the 21st Century, alongside Smartphones, GPS, tablets and e-books. Almost a third of Brits (30%) say that tap and pay technology is the best time-saving innovation since the year 2000.
Moreover, around three quarters (72%) believe personal finance innovations take the lead when it comes to making life easier, beating entertainment (51%), travel (30%) and even developments within social media (28%). Contactless payments, online banking and mobile banking were all highlighted as developments which had saved time, made everyday life more convenient and helped people manage their money more effectively.
Almost a fifth (19%) of consumers stated their spending habits had changed since the introduction of contactless cards. The research reveals that a quarter (25%) say contactless encourages us to buy the little things or micro-transactions such as a coffee, chewing gum and a newspaper with card rather than small change. And it appears many are wanting to see more shops and establishments offering the technology. Nearly two thirds (63%) say that contactless payment technology makes paying for everything easier and quicker and more than one in ten (11%) say they even automatically ‘tap’ when paying for things and are surprised when the technology isn’t available.
At over 100,000 feet, and minus 30 degrees Celsius Nationwide’s Visa contactless card faced inhospitable conditions and working in partnership with First Data, the technicians had to develop a specially designed Clover™ Mobile terminal to process a transaction at this altitude.
Paul Horlock, Head of Payments at Nationwide Building Society said; “Each day Nationwide members make over £5 million worth of contactless payments, showing just how popular tap and pay has become. We wanted to celebrate this quick, easy and convenient way to pay and highlight how technology has transformed our day-to-day lives. Making a contactless payment at 100,000 feet presented unique challenges to our team, but it seemed a fitting celebration of this remarkable technology and our plans to roll out contactless capabilities to our credit cards later this year.
“Nationwide is committed to providing a range of quick, easy and secure ways for customers to pay. This choice is important because, for our members payments are more than just transactions they are enabling millions of convenient everyday interactions with contactless, supporting our members aspirations as they save with standing orders, and helping them split the bill through Paym. We will continue to invest in and celebrate technology which makes life as easy and convenient for our members as possible.”
The payment on the edge of space was made on the 12 October 2016, taking off in rural Shropshire, ascending at over 15 meters per second to reach a final altitude of 101,050 feet.
Nationwide now processes over 2.9 billion transactions each year, and has over 2.6 million active digital users, an increase of over 12% over the past year. This growth is perhaps unsurprising as the Society has recently introduced a number of new digital initiatives including a new banking app, and Paym alongside a roll out of wearable banking to Apple Watch. This means that members can quickly, easily and securely manage their money on the go, anywhere and anytime.