The Co-operative Pharmacy trial contactless payments

July 21, 2010

The Co-operative Pharmacy is to trial contactless payment in its branches after joining forces with Barclaycard.

Contactless payment allows customers to make purchases of £15 or less, without the need to enter a PIN or insert their card into a payment terminal. Once the card has been held over the contactless terminal, the secure transaction uses the tried and tested Chip and PIN technology to automatically add the purchase to the customer’s credit card bill or debit it from their current account.

The trial will incorporate all contactless bank cards and will begin in approximately 50 Co-operative Pharmacy branches early next year after an agreement was signed with Barclaycard in partnership with Visa.  If this is successful, The Co-operative Pharmacy hopes to roll out the technology to more than 500 branches by March 2011 before implementing it across the whole estate. The project is part of a wider Co-operative Group initiative, which will see the business become the UK’s first major food retailer to introduce contactless payment if initial tests are successful.

Contactless payment, which is already commonplace and proving popular in the USA and Asia, is ideal for transactions where speed is essential. Roll-out of contactless payment in the UK began in 2007 and there are now over nine million contactless enabled cards in circulation.

Chris Brooker, Business Development Director at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “We are excited to be trialling this unique payment method, which has received an excellent reception from both customers and retailers where it has been launched overseas. The project is part of our ongoing investment to improve our customer service in the communities we serve.

“Contactless payment has huge benefits, not just for The Co-operative Pharmacy, but more importantly, for our customers. In essence, this innovative technology will improve the customer experience by speeding up the process.”

Contactless payment will also improve customer satisfaction as research has shown that a large number of customers will walk out of a shop due to excessive queue length.

Stuart Neal, Head of UK Payment Acceptance at Barclaycard, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that The Co-operative is joining forces with Barclaycard to explore the benefits of contactless payment for its pharmacies. For a household name such as The Co-operative to implement the technology really shows that it is the future of payments, and we are looking forward to working with The Co-operative Pharmacy to further enhance the experience for their customers.”

Notes to Editors

About contactless

Contactless payment enables customers to make a purchase of £15 or less without the need to sign or enter a pin. Barclays and Barclaycard are leading the way in introducing contactless and there are now over eight million contactless-enabled Barclaycards and Barclays debit cards, helping retailers reduce queuing and cut the cost of card transactions. In line with its history of providing customers with innovative payment forms, Barclaycard also intends to make payments by mobile phone available to the mass market by 2012.

Barclays and Barclaycard are the leading providers of contactless terminals in the UK with 25,000 live and accepting payment throughout the country for retailers including Prêt A Manger, Subway, Yo! Sushi and EAT. 

To find out more about contactless payment, visit or

About The Co-operative Group

The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business which is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of £14 billion, employs 123,000 staff and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets handling more than 20 million weekly transactions.  

Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.

The Co-operative is the UK’s number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually, and is the UK’s largest farmer.

Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical and The Co-operative Legal Services.

For further information please contact:

Alexandra Anderson
Senior Public Relations Officer
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 0161 2663416