Contactless banking could soon come to the UK
Published 27 January 2012 by Lucy Bower
The first contactless ATMs are being rolled out across Barcelona and could come to the UK if they prove successful.
Contactless payments are already possible in the UK with credit and debit cards, as well as some mobile phones. Now, in Barcelona, you will find contactless ATMs which allow customers to withdraw money with a swipe of their card, as reported by The Guardian.
La Caixa is responsible for the contactless ATMs spread across Barcelona. If they prove popular, the same technology could come to the UK.
It's already possible for millions of UK bank account customers with contactless payment cards to make low value purchases using a reader at a till (low value purchases like fast food, for example). Visa hopes that this technology will really take off in the UK during the Olympics later this year.
Anyone travelling to Barcelona in the next month should be able to make contactless payments at restaurants and shops over there, although whether contactless ATMs will take off is yet to be seen.
It may not sound secure to simply swipe your card and get cash - especially if someone stole your card. However, you are protected by your PIN - which you still have to enter to get at your cash, although La Caixa and Visa say they hope that eventually customers will be able to access small amounts of cash without using a PIN at all.
It's claimed that contactless ATMs make withdrawing cash faster and simpler - and the speed should bring down queues - especially, it's hoped, during the Olympics.
Hopefully it'll put a stop to absent-minded people leaving their card in the cash machine too. And in terms of security, it's much more difficult for cards to be 'skimmed' on contactless ATMs - meaning when details are copied onto another device attached to the ATM by criminals.