UK-based Metro Bank is planning to offer
contactless payments as part of its product mix, according to Jamie
Merritt, vice president of business development at MasterCard.

Metro Bank, which has signed an exclusive
five-year deal to issue MasterCard debit cards, will become
the first retail bank to start up in the UK in 100
years when it launches on July 29. Merritt said
contactless was one of a list of products the bank is planning to
launch. Details of its contactless project will be unveiled in the
coming weeks, he added.

The news comes as contactless payments in the
UK start to gain momentum. Barclaycard, the biggest issuer of
contactless cards in the UK, announced this week it had signed a
deal with the Co-op to become the first supermarket to
accept contactless payments in the UK.

Under the agreement with MasterCard, Metro
Bank customers will also receive fully personalised and ‘ready
to go’ debit and credit cards through instant issuance
technology. MasterCard claimed the service will follow the same
stringent due diligence and credit check processes that typically
force customers of other banks to wait as long as two weeks for
their new cards.

Merritt added that a number of financial
institutions have expressed interest in instant issuance.

“Debit is an area that we are hugely keen on and with Metro Bank
– we can change the face of high street banks,” he said.

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“Metro Bank is the first UK high street bank to extend opening
hours and focus on the area of customer service which is very
exciting. We are currently focusing on the final nuts and bolts to
get Metro Bank live, which has been a very complex journey.”

Metro Bank is MasterCard’s second
debit deal to take place within a year in the UK. The first
was signed with Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank in December
2009.

“We’re delighted that MasterCard has become
our payment partner. Its expertise and support has been vital in
bringing Metro Bank to market so quickly,” said Craig Donaldson,
CEO of Metro Bank.

Metro Bank, which is launching a retail store
model for high street banking, will be the first to open its doors
seven days a week with branches open from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday,
8am-6pm on Saturdays and 11am-4pm on Sundays.

Metro Bank is initially opening
two branches in London, with a further 12 planned in Greater
London over the next two years. It plans to grow its store network
to more than 200 over the next decade and claim 5-10 percent of the
consumer banking market in Greater London in 10 years.