Lidl invests in contactless payment technology

German supermarket chain Lidl has launched contactless payments in its UK stores, with a company spokesperson suggesting it was a case of the retailer wanting to "move with the times".

By the end of July, near-field communication capability was installed in all 600 of the grocer's stores in the UK – and customers have reportedly been quick to embrace the new technology, although it can only be used to process transactions up to £20.

Lidl spokesperson Georgina O'Donnell told Essential Retail: "We don't envisage that all customers will opt for the contactless method, but it provides customers with the option to do so.

"We have implemented this functionality at all tills to allow flexibility for customers. It enables customers to pay more quickly, making the check-out procedure even more convenient for the customer as well as cutting down on queuing times."

Explaining other reasons for the technology, she added: "We were also responding to consumer demand to move with the times and offer a wider range of payment acceptance options."

Just two weeks on from launch, Lidl had processed over 65,000 transactions and the retailer said customer reaction has been positive.

Payment and risk services provider WorldPay was the company behind the implementation of Lidl's new transaction technology, adding the supermarket group to a burgeoning list of retail customers that already includes Superdrug, McDonald's and WH Smith.

It is certainly a growing method for retail payments, with the tech solutions firm recently publishing research suggesting that one in ten consumers have already used contactless technology and almost two-thirds are familiar with the contactless symbol. In fact, a separate study from WorldPay Zinc released this week indicates that 77% of consumers predict certain coins will be discontinued within the next ten years, as payment technology continues its rapid evolution.

Ron Kalifa, deputy chairman of WorldPay, commented: "From our experience, the key elements to a successful implementation [of contactless technology] are customer awareness and staff training.

"The results of our recent consumer research showed that one in five shoppers think contactless is not clearly advertised at the payment till and that one in four believe staff often don't ask them if they would like to pay using contactless. Lidl has been very proactive in ensuring that their customers and staff are aware that they can now use contactless cards as a quick and convenient method of payment in store."

Andrew Stevens, senior retail analyst at industry research firm Verdict, said that Lidl's move to introduce contactless payment is part of a wider trend that will potentially see all grocery firms using it to some degree in the future.

"All retailers are likely to use contactless payment technology in some form at some stage but it'll be a case of different retailers taking slightly different approaches to it," he explained.

"For Lidl, the system provides a convenient solution and speeds up transactions, which is in-keeping with the company's discount model."