Marks & Spencer (M&S) claims it's the UK leader in accepting contactless payments following the completion of a contactless point-of-sale roll-out at 644 UK stores.

According to Visa Europe, which processes M&S’ payments, the company now takes over 230,000 contactless transactions every week, although most of them are made in the south of England.

The technology provided by Visa Europe enables consumers to simply touch a reader with their contactless cards or enabled mobile phones to pay for goods under £20 without the need to enter a PIN.

Around one in seven (14 percent) of M&S card transactions under £20 are now completed by this method. The service is proving particularly popular for food, with a quarter of contactless payments processed at self-checkout points in M&S food halls.

Sacha Berendji, retail director at M&S, said: “Contactless and mobile payment is set to be an exciting part of the future retail landscape. A contactless payment takes place in less than a second, creating a quicker, easier and more convenient shopping experience."

The M&S contactless roll-out followed a successful trial in 25 London stores last summer. Although London stores continue to have the highest levels of contactless transactions, M&S says it is seeing increasing use of contactless cards in other busy urban centres including Manchester, Croydon and Reading.

The contactless payments are processed by Visa Europe over a network supplied and managed by Logicalis under a six year networking contract signed by M&S in 2011.