Far out! Nationwide makes contactless payment at the edge of space

nationwide_spaceNationwide has completed the world’s highest ever contactless payment, almost at the edge of space – more than three times higher than Mount Everest and in conditions as cold as Antarctica.

At 100,000 feet and -30 degrees Celsius, engineers had to design a robotic arm which was capable of making the payment, and built a casing to protect the terminal from the elements.

The equipment was then connected to a weather balloon and programmed to make the payment once it reached 100,000 feet. After numerous test launches, the payment was finally made on 12 October 2016, with the balloon taking off in rural Shropshire and reaching a final altitude of 101,050 feet.

Nationwide also announced that the number of contactless cards in circulation in the UK will break 100 million for the first time this year. More than £1.8 billion was spent on contactless cards during June 2016 – a year-on-year increase of more than 230 per cent. This time last year just one in 20 card payments were made using contactless – today it is one in four.

Paul Horlock, head of payments at Nationwide, said, “Each day Nationwide members make over £5 million worth of contactless payments, showing just how popular tap and pay has become. We wanted to celebrate this quick, easy and convenient way to pay and highlight how technology has transformed our day-to-day lives. Making a contactless payment at 100,000 feet presented unique challenges to our team, but it seemed a fitting celebration of this remarkable technology and our plans to roll out contactless capabilities to our credit cards later this year.”

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Categories: Contactless Payments, Video

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