Barclays will soon begin issuing debit cards with contactless payment technology, a move that goes some way towards breaking the chicken-and-egg deadlock of contactless payment adoption.

Barclays will begin issuing debit cards with contactless payment technology from March this year, in a move which it says will contribute to more than three million contactless payment cards being in circulation by the end of the year.

The move goes some way towards breaking the chicken and egg deadlock of contactless payment adoption – where retailers won’t adopt the technology at their tills until consumers demand it, and consumers won’t demand the cards until they have somewhere to use them.

When contactless credit cards first became available in 2007, consumers were invited to apply for them. More recently, Barclaycard has introduced contactless technology for all newly issued Platinum credit cards.

Now, in its pursuit of mass adoption, it seems Barclays is taking the initiative and not waiting for its customers to request debit cards with the technology.

This is great news for the retailers and other merchants who have already invested in the technology. But Barclays admits that there are only 8,000 such sites where the cards can currently be used in the UK.

It is perhaps not such great timing for all the other retailers out there who haven’t yet adopted the technology. Most of them are trying to tighten their belts at the moment and have little desire to become involved in costly roll-outs of extra equipment at their tills.

The chicken and egg problem may have stalled the adoption of contactless payment in the beginning, but a situation where millions of consumers have technology in their bank cards that can be used in few, if any, of the places that they shop, could be even worse for its perception in the longer run.

Barclays has forced the egg to hatch, now the chick needs to learn not to run before it can walk.