Retailer WHSmith plans to go live with contactless payments across 46 of its UK stores by Spring 2012.

It is planning to initially implement the technology at stores based in major travel hubs, such as London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Mainline Railway Stations.

The contactless payment systems will be provided by both Visa and payment value chain specialist Streamline, who claim that the technology helps retailers to reduce the costs associated with cash handling.

"The introduction of contactless at these key travel sites is ideal for consumers who often need to complete a purchase quickly prior to catching a train or plane," said Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe.

The service will enable consumers to touch a contactless reader with their card in a WHSmith store for items under £15, without the need for entering a pin or signing for the purchase.

Visa recently added smartphones from Samsung Electronics, Research in Motion and LG Electronics to a list of devices it has certified to work with the 185,000 NFC-based payment terminals it has in Europe.

All the products run Visa's payWave application on a secure SIM card and use NFC (near field communications), a short range communications standard, to securely transmit payment information to a contactless payment terminal.