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Barclaycard launches stick-on card to accelerate contactless payments

Karl Flinders

Barclaycard is providing contactless payment on mobile phones using a stick-on sensor, which it hopes will get consumers used to using contactless payments.

The company already offers embedded mobile payment technology through a deal with Orange but believes the free card, known as PayTag, will drive the take-up of contactless payments. The card is a third of the size of a normal bank card and is sticky on one side.

Tom Gregory, head of digital payments at Barclaycard, said PayTag will accelerate the take up of mobile payments because of its simplicity. He said it is not a replacement for technology embedded into the phone but a means of enabling easy access to contactless payments.

“We are absolutely committed to embedding mobile payments technology in the phones,” said Gregory.  Last year Barclaycard and mobile operator Orange launched mobile phone payments service Quick Tap which allows consumers to make purchases on the high street using their mobile phone.

Gregory said the development of contactless payments on mobile phones has been slow but PayTag will bring the functionality to the masses quickly. It also opens this up to users of all types of mobile phones.

The card will be initially available to a select group of Barclaycard holders from today with wider roll-out to follow.

David Chan, CEO of Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said contactless payments will increase as more retailers and service providers sign up to it. London Buses will take Contactless payments later this year and the London Underground next year. Major retailers that offer contactless include Waitrose, McDonalds, Boots, WH Smith and Tesco.Visa predicts that the number of contactless point-of-sale terminals in the UK will rise by 50% to 150,000 this year.

The Barclaycard technology currently allows payments worth up to £15 to be made by swiping a card with the technology embedded, but this will increase to £20 in June.

Chan said Contactless payments in the UK were worth £20m last year but expects this to reach £3bn in 2016.

Because the card sticks onto a mobile phone rather than being embedded technology it can be used on any mobile. In fact it is not restricted to mobile phones but can be stuck to anything.

Chris Skinner, CEO at financial services think tank Balatro, said putting stickers on the back of mobile phones will undoubtedly increase the use of contactless payments, but he doubts its long term relevance. “But the question is whether this is an interim technology or a long term solution.”

“In my view it is an interim solution as we move towards mobile proximity payments.”

Proximity payments systems use Near-field communication (NFC) which allows data to be exchanged between devices via short-range, high-frequency wireless communication technology by combining the interface of a smartcard and reader into a single device.

A source told Computer Weekly that Barclays has invested heavily in contactless payments and needs to justify this with take-up. He said there is increasing competition in the space, with many new mobile phones embedding NFC technology.


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