PASSENGERS using Basingstoke railway station are set to be among the first to benefit from contactless payment machines.

Train operator Stagecoach Group has announced that nearly 180 South West Trains and East Midlands Trains stations will have the technology installed, which allows passengers to touch their credit, debit or pre-paid card to pay for tickets.

Corinne O’Loughlin, group communications manager for Stagecoach Group, said Basingstoke will be among the first stations to receive the technology, which is likely to be installed next month.

The equipment has been developed by Fujitsu UK and Ireland and Ingenico, and will be rolled out over the next four months.

A second phase is scheduled to equip all ticket vending machines with the technology by the end of the year.

The systems allow payments up to £20.

All bank cards featuring contactless technology can be touched against the reader to pay, rather than inserting the card into the chip and pin machine and entering a pin number. It means payment is completed in just a few seconds.

Customers with smartphones, with their bank card details contained, can also pay for tickets by touching their phone on the contactless reader.

Alistair Smith, Stagecoach group director of commercial and IT, said: “We are at the forefront of using new technology to transform our customers' experience.

“Our experience has been that passengers value the convenience and speed of contactless payments, which are now more widely accepted than ever by many businesses across many different industries.”

Paul Patterson, executive director at Fujitsu, added: “Contactless payment technology will allow Stagecoach to increase the quality and speed of its service and ensure customers' data is protected to the highest standard."