It’s 2016: Why does Sainsbury’s still not have contactless?

Even Morrisons has it

Contactless card payments are everywhere. Clubs, pubs, restaurants – even the rusty Tube – have embraced the future. Any initial worries about how easily someone could steal your card and rinse your bank account £30 at a time have gone, have been forgotten in the excitement of not needing to remember your four-digit PIN any more.

That is, until you get to Sainsbury’s. For some reason, the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain is yet to embrace the contactless revolution, despite promising us it was on the way as far back as August. Why they’re dragging their heels is unclear, especially as they’re practically the only supermarket without it. Even Morrisons have contactless and half of their check-outs are still powered by hand-crank.

To make it even more infuriating, Sainsbury’s card machines look exactly the same as normal, contactless card machines. So the part of your brain that runs automatically in the background sees the machine and gets your card primed and ready to tap and go. When you can’t, you’re left looking like an idiot as the cashier leans forward to tell you “Sorry, it’s not contactless. Can you insert your card please?”.

'Please insert your card into the Chip and PIN device'

‘Please insert your card into the Chip and PIN device’

We’re meant to be better than this. If contactless payment makes us feel like we’re living in a utopian tomorrow filled with self-driving cars and commercial space travel, then having to still use chip and PIN is a bleak reminder that today is a planet hosting ISIS and Donald Trump.

Sainsbury’s will probably claim there’s no demand for contactless, that there’s less chance of fraud if customers need a PIN number, or point out most of their customers are spending more than £30 when they shop anyway. Really though, what’s more likely: the shop which still puts the cereal as far away from the milk as possible has suddenly started caring about your financial wellbeing? Or is a supermarket chain that reported its first annual loss for a decade holding out on us to save a bit of money?

Every little helps. Oh wait, that’s Tesco. Which also has contactless.

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