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PayPass card aims to cut the cash to cut out the queues

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03/09/2007

A card enabling shoppers to spend up to £10 without using a PIN has been launched by Mastercard.

Mastercard, issuer of the master card credit card, has introduced the PayPass system in London ahead of a nationwide launch, claiming it will cut queues in stores and diminish the requirement to carry cash.

Cardholders pay for their goods by touching their card on a reader, with the money being deducted from their bank account, as with a debit card, or added to their credit card bill. It operates in a similar way to Oyster travel cards used on London Transport systems.

There are 19 million PayPass users in the US, where Mastercard is headquartered and most master card credit card users are based, and the company hopes that the idea will catch on in the UK on a similar scale.

Critics, however, have said that it is too easy for fraudsters to spend on the card as it can be used up to five times – to a total value of £50 – before customers need to enter a PIN.

Mastercard head of strategy and business Oliver Steeley observed that fraudulent use would be limited by this limit. “We’re simply responding to consumer need for speed and convenience,” he said.

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