United Kingdom-based card issuer Barclaycard has yet to see a top-of-wallet effect for its OnePulse card, the "three-in-one" payment card that enables cardholders to make retail purchases and pay fares on buses, subways and other modes of transport in London, CardLine Global sister publication Cards&Payments has learned. Barclaycard introduced the card in September with a £5 million (US$9.9 million or 6.3 million euros) advertising campaign, the issuer's biggest ever for a product launch. But fewer than 10% of cardholders use the retail payment applications and the Oyster fare-collection feature, says Jeff Spencer, head of product management at Barclaycard, a part of UK-based Barclays bank PLC. The OnePulse launch began the introduction of contactless payment in London and throughout the United Kingdom. That rollout, however, has developed more slowly than expected by contactless backers. As of May, Barclays and other banks had issued 340,000 contactless payment cards that were accepted by about 5,000 merchants, most in London, according to UK payments association APACS. The organization had projected banks would have issued 5 million cards accepted at 100,000 merchant locations by the end of 2008. Barclaycard paid undisclosed licensing fees for an exclusive three-year right to put the Oyster fare-collection application on its banking cards. OnePulse also supports the Visa payWave contactless application and a conventional chip-and-PIN feature. Spencer, along with other contactless promoters, believes the UK rollout will gain strength over the next six to 12 months. He says the bank plans to meet its goal of issuing 1 million contactless cards by the end of this year, although not all will be OnePulse cards. Some issuers are postponing action until a big British retail chain embraces contactless technology. "We need one or two of those big guys to drop. Then [a rollout] will be a lot easier," Spencer said in June during a presentation at the Prepaid '08 conference in London. He believes a couple of very big merchants are close to signing up to accept contactless payment, though he declines to name them or say whether they planned to roll out terminals throughout their chains or merely test the technology.

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