By Ian Whittleworth, Payment and Exit Manager

Last year, there was an update to the European banking regulation. In this new piece of regulation, it made banks and building societies add further security measures on contactless payments.

Many of us will have experienced this security measure whist paying for items in a store using contactless – occasionally, your contactless payment will be rejected, and you’ll be asked to use Chip & Pin instead. This is a validation check on your card that’s used to reset your ability to continue to use contactless payments. 

As much as this is a good security feature from the banks, it’s caused a number of issues in store, which has only been exacerbated since the pandemic hit. We’ve seen huge change in the way customers shop with us, how they check out and how they choose to pay. ASTs are becoming increasingly popular as they reduce levels of interaction and touch points in the store. 

All of this has resulted in a spike in ‘walkoffs’ – when a customer doesn’t realise their payment hasn’t gone through and they leave the store without paying for their goods. 

A new AST update started deployment this week – and it’s had positive results so far

We, along with many other retailers have seen the same patterns across the industry. However, nobody has had a fix for the issue until now. 

We’ve created a simple till update that’s been trialled in two stores in Manchester (Ancoats and West Didsbury) that makes the customer journey on the AST much more noticeable. 

When a customer uses a contactless payment, a visual and audible notification is given to the customer, asking them to ‘please wait’ for the payment to be accepted. Once payment is complete, the AST will say ‘card accepted’. If their payment has been refused by their bank or building society, and they require a further intervention with Chip & Pin verification, this is audibly and visually displayed on the till screen.

This fairly simple update has had a big impact on our trial stores so far. Here’s just what some colleagues have been saying:

  • “The new till update has removed the biggest stress of my working day – confronting customers”
  • “Customers are reacting to the notifications and waiting to be told that the payment has been accepted”
  • “We now have confidence in the ASTs and don’t feel we have to watch over every customers”
  • “We probably won’t see honest walk offs anymore thanks to the till update and the AST Cameras”

The update is being rolled out now and should be implemented on all ASTs by 25 February. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the update and whether it’s making a difference in your store, so please share them on Yammer and in the comments below.  

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Great update. Will save the company hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

  2. since smart cash was introduced the tills are much slower processing cards, change and receipts is this going to be fixed?

  3. A similar issue exists with crewed tills (from our experience):

    The payment terminal tells the customer “Card accepted” and they go their merry way but our Tills show payment still processing. If payment fails they could be at/ out the door none the wiser.

    Is it possible to get this update for crewed tills too? At least a message on the payment terminal to let customers know to keep waiting please? We’ve logged it previously with IS Desk but to no avail.

  4. Look forward to seeing in action and sharing with my store team.

  5. Great work Ian

  6. Some times the simple solutions are the best.. Well done Co-op.

  7. Great development!

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