Marks & Spencer claims to be the UK leader in accepting NFC 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; most 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.

Some 14% 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.