April 19, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Barclays has introduced its own contactless mobile payment solution. But while most of the NFC products we’ve seen have relied on internal hardware that requires users purchase new phones, Barclays PayTag uses a method that should work with any phone.
Barclays PayTag is a mini-credit card that sticks to the back of a phone. The sticker holds the user’s credit card information and can then be used at select stores in the United Kingdom, so long as the total cost is less than £15 (the cap raises to £20 in June). The attached sticker then acts like other NFC payment options and pays for products by hovering the phone centimeters from a pay terminal rather than swiping a credit card.
PayTag’s low payment limit is disappointing – what happens when your bill comes to £15.02? – but the system has the advantage of being much more flexible than its rivals. Google Wallet is expected to land in the UK later this year, but only a select group of consumers will be able to use it. PayTag working through a sticker means that interested Barclaycard customers won’t have to wait until they upgrade their device to make purchases.
According to a Visa estimate repeated by Barclays, there will be 150,000 contactless payment terminals in the UK by year’s end. Buses in London will also support it this year, and the Tube will follow in 2013. For now, PayTag will be available at the following stores:
- Thames Clippers
- Wembley Arena