sQuid, the contactless e-money card has been given the go-ahead by Bolton Council chiefs to incorporate sQuid’s e-money ‘purse’ into the Bolton smartcard.

The Bolton smartcard was launched last November to give residents access to local services. The new sQuid scheme will allow Bolton residents to load their Bolton Smart card with sQuid’s e-money ‘purse,’ enabling them to purchase small items like newspapers, coffee or a sandwich without scrambling for change at premises displaying the sQuid logo.

The Council is also working with Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTE) to have the sQuid-enabled card accepted on buses as well.

Cliff Morris, Council leader and executive member for Corporate Strategy and Finance said: “Incorporating the e-money facility into the card means that many more services could be offered and the involvement of sQuid opens up an extremely useful new facility for users.”

He said future uses could include a school ‘purse’ for lunches, for example. “It’s not a credit card, so people would not be running up a debt and can only spend the amount they have credited to it and if a card is lost it can be ‘frozen’. It’s certainly something I’d use,” he added.

Adam Smith, sQuidcard’s managing director said that “Tap-and-go e-money cards are expected to start to replace cash for small purchases under £10, but solutions from debit and credit card networks are likely to load small transactions with significant fees; which the consumer will probably have to pay for.”

The e-money network has said it will never charge retailers more than 1.5% per transaction for handling squid payments, which, in many instances, is lower than the cost of handling cash.

A national sQuidcard roll out is planned for 2008/9. Credit companies, Visa and MasterCard have also announced contactless payment trials due to start in London this Autumn, while Barclaycard and Transport for London are trialling a similar scheme involving the London transport smartcard, Oyster.