Barcelona is to become the first ‘tap and go’ city in Europe thanks to La Caixa, Spain’s largest retail bank. Tap and go payment cards and terminals have already been rolled out throughout the city in one of the biggest deployments of financial services technology in Europe. The technology, which will see bank cards, mobile phones and even watches embedded with a wireless payment chip will gradually replace the use of physical cash for small purchases.
As part of the plan the bank will issue 1 million cards to its customers and provide 17,000 payment terminals in shops throughout the city from department stores to local retailers. The bank has also teamed up with Visa Europe and will be providing Barcelona with 500 ATM machines with contactless readers.
While there have been previous mobile payment systems initiated in Europe such as the contactless card readers introduced in McDonald’s and Starbucks chains and the Google Wallet launched by Google in partnership with Mastercard and Sprint, this is the first time the technology will be used on a large-scale throughout a European city. Barcelona was chosen to be the first city as La Caixa will be showcasing the new technology at next month’s Mobile World Congress. The whole process is expected to cost the bank around €9 million to kit out Barcelona and a further €40 million to provide the rest of Spain with the technology over three years. The bank carried out a pilot scheme for the payment system in Sitges last year, which was hailed as a “great success” and saw sales increase by 23 percent.
To see the unveiling of this new technology and a whole host of other telecommunications-related industry news head down to the GSMA Mobile World Congress, 27 February – 1 March 2012 in Barcelona. For the best hotels, rented apartments and other accommodation choices contact EAS, your friendly local travel agents. With our expert knowledge and experience we’ll make sure you have an unforgettable stay. We’ll even sort out your transportation and nightly entertainment needs so click on this link to fill in our request form.