Wide implementation of contactless payment took a leap forward after the Post Office said it is to become Europe’s largest adopter of the payment system.

All 11,000 Post Office branches in the UK will be provided with contactless terminals by HSBC Merchant Services, allowing customers with MasterCard Paypass and Visa PayWave cards to complete payments up to £20 - the UK Cards Association today lifted the limit from £15 for contactless debit and credit card payments.

Customers will also be able to pay using near-field communication-equipped mobile phones.

Many retailers have been waiting in the wings for wider use of contactless payment systems before implementing it themselves and the Post Office roll-out, which is expected to be completed by the end this year, provides more critical mass in the market.

“Contactless payment, ultimately with the shopper’s mobile phone, is one of the top technology trends to watch,” said Joachim Pinhammer, senior retail technology analyst at Planet Retail. “Consumers benefitting from a quicker and more convenient payment process at UK Post Offices will expect the same service when they do their shopping, which will encourage more retailers to invest in the technology.”

However, BRC spokesman Richard Dodd warned: “Retailers are agnostic about how payments are made, their job is to sell products to consumers in whichever way they want. What is important is that contactless payment, which will potentially replace a lot of cash sales, is not used as an excuse by providers and card issuers to jack up the cost of collection.”