The Financial Times (FT) reports that Spanish bank La Caixa has begun the rollout of contactless payment cards and terminals across Barcelona, in what was described as “one of the biggest deployments of the financial services technology in Europe." According to the paper, the bank is issuing 1 million cards to customers, and providing 17,000 payment terminals to merchants. It is working with Visa Europe on the project, which is also set to deploy 500 ATM machines with contactless readers
La Caixa apparently selected Barcelona as its starting point in order to showcase the technology at next month’s GSMA Mobile World Congress. It has not said if it will support contactless transactions using mobile phones as well as smart cards in the current phase. The FT said that the bank is spending EUR9 million equipping Barcelona, and will spend EUR35 million-EUR40 million extending the programme across Spain in the next three years. Last year Barcelona was named the Mobile World Capital by the GSMA.