Barclaycard have launched PayTag, a contactless payment method courtesy of a sticker which it suggests you attach to your mobile phone.
The stickers will be available exclusively to Barclaycard Visa customers (who do not share their cards with anyone else), for free, and will allow the sticker users to pay for goods simply by swiping the sticker over a contactless terminal, without the need to enter a PIN. Transactions of up to £15 will be supported initially, increasing to £20 in June. The stickers come with the same fraud protection afforded to Barclaycards themselves, and as it’s really just another card, the security of it is no different to carrying around a traditional slab of plastic.
In some respects, using stickers to provide an NFC solution is a clever idea; it does away with the need for NFC to be built into mobile phones, which will be standard eventually, but is currently patchy. This way, even those with old mobile phones, or indeed no phone at all (you could stick it to the back of your work ID card or Oyster card, for example), can now use the contactless payment terminals found in an ever-growing range of stores. This should really help promote the use of contactless payments, which have been threatening to go mainstream for a while, but are yet to truly take off.
But there are drawbacks. From a purely aesthetic point of view, how many people will want to deface their shiny phones with a sticker (currently only available in black!)? The sticker will also advertise the fact you’re a Barclaycard customer. It has also been suggested that attaching the sticker to your phone is really putting all of your eggs in one basket should your mobile be lost or stolen.
And Barclaycard themselves have confirmed that this scheme has a limited shelf life as more devices become NFC enabled. But there’s a chance that the stickers could live on to provide contactless payments in other environments, such as at festivals.
The stickers are to be sent out to an “exclusive” set of clients initially, before being rolled out to the rest of Barclaycard’s customers later in the year (we’re not sure whether that will be before or after the Olympic Games, when other contactless providers are aiming to increase the use of their services). You can register your interest in PayTag on the Barclaycard website.
Here’s Barclaycard’s promo video for PayTag:
Are you a Barclaycard customer who’ll use PayTag when it becomes available? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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