Barclaycard has introduced a new wristband and other contactless payment gadgets intended to make it easier for the company’s credit card customers to make purchases at retail rather than searching through wallets and purses to find a credit card or cash. The band, which contains a computer chip linked to a smartphone software application, is operated by the customer waving it in front of a payment reader.
Barclaycard has also released a key fob and a smart sticker which work in similar fashion to the wristband. The sticker can be attached to any device such as a smartphone or watch. The three different contactless devices, known as the “bPay” system, range in price from £15 – 25 (approximately $23 – 40). If one of these devices is lost or stolen, the customer can cancel the chip by calling the issuer.
Barclaycard, the top British credit card issuer, pioneered the bPay system last year at two festivals to accommodate cyclists, drivers and athletes who wanted to avoid carrying a lot of cash. Although not all merchants accept payment via these devices, so far over 300,000 stores in the United Kingdom do. Currently the amount of goods which can be purchased this way is limited to £20 but this is scheduled to increase to £30 in a couple of months. It is not yet clear how many merchants will agree to accept bPay payments or whether the low limits will hinder adoption of the alternative payment method by consumers whose contactless credit and debit cards can be used everywhere that has a regular chip-and-pin reader.