Latest Podcast



Featured Articles

European smartphone shipments fall to lowest Q1 total since 2013

A new report from Counterpoint Research's Market Monitor service shows European smartphone shipments dropping by 12% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022. That's the lowest Q1 total since 2013.
Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Qualcomm legal action moves forward in the UK

Which? seeks payout for Samsung and Apple smartphone owners

Consumer protection organisation Which? has been given permission by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent Apple and Samsung smartphone buyers in a legal case against chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
Google announces new devices

Google announces new devices

Pixel Watch, smartphones, earbuds and more

Google's 2022 I/O conference for developers has seen the company previewing new products, including its Pixel 7 smartphone, a Pixel tablet and the first smartwatch entirely built by Google.
Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
UK advertising watchdog says Tesco Mobile ads were offensive

UK advertising watchdog says Tesco Mobile ads were offensive

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a number of recent Tesco Mobile advertisements were likely to cause "serious and widespread offence".

Newspaper ads, digital outdoor posters and a Twitter post were investigated after 52 complaints.
Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
Apple launches self-service repairs in the USA

Apple launches self-service repairs in the USA

DIY iPhone repairers can now order official spares

Apple has launched 'Self Service Repair' in the USA, enabling consumers to obtain repair manuals, Apple parts and tools from an official Repair Store. The service will be expanded into additional countries later this year.
Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
RSS

Opinion Articles

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Barclaycard bPay: wearable payment technology

Mark Bridge pays with a flick of the wrist

Mark Bridge writes:

Contactless payments. They're catching on, aren't they? You can even substitute a contactless credit or debit card for an NFC Oyster Card when travelling on London buses and the Underground. In fact, it's been six years since contactless cards were first accepted in the UK. Since then they've spread to supermarkets, coffee shops, off licences, pretty much anywhere; if your transaction is less than £20, you can just tap and go. (Oh, and for the benefit of any pedants: yes, I know they're not truly 'contactless' unless you've mastered holding your card a fraction of an inch above the reader. But you know what I mean.)

Those few extra seconds gained by contactless transactions are precious, it seems. Or perhaps we're not capable of remembering 4-digit PIN codes any more; an innovation that was introduced around ten years ago because we were no longer capable of writing our own names. Okay, I'm kidding. It's helped reduce some types of card fraud and has also shifted blame for fraudulent use from card providers to customers and retailers. Anyway...

Mobile contactless payments haven't proved so popular. The challenge has been getting secure payment details from your bank to your phone. Until recently it's needed an NFC-equipped phone and a SIM card that's been produced in partnership with a mobile network and bank. Of course, the introduction of Apple Pay may change that - either on its own, by accelerating the development of rival products or increasing the awareness of current alternatives including PayPal - but at the moment it's not especially easy to pay for real-world products with your phone.

At this point, bPay enters the scene. bPay is a wristband that's being produced by Barclaycard. The band is, in effect, a pre-paid contactless debit card. You can load money onto it from a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card - and than you can then go out and touch your band against any of those in-store contactless payment terminals to pay. It was trialled at Pride in London and the Barclaycard British Summer Time festivals during the summer; a secure and convenient alternative to carrying a wallet when you're only wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Okay, so it's not 'smartphone mobile' but it is at least 'easy-to-move mobile', which seems like a reasonable compromise to me. And, with the band very literally strapped to your wrist, it's a darned sight more physically secure than a smartphone. A winner all round. I thought I'd give it a go.

Signing up for bPay was pretty easy. A quick visit to bpayband.co.uk (don't get confused with the US banking app that has a similar name) was all I needed. You can choose a basic black or purple strap - or custom designs to show your support for Pride or Southampton FC. The whole process is probably easier than the average online purchase, I'd say.

That process involved giving my email address and mobile number, so I wasn't surprised to receive confirmation SMS and email messages. "Soon you'll be able to pay faster at thousands of retailers across the UK, including high street names such as Starbucks, Pret A Manger, Marks and Spencer, Boots and McDonald's."

bPay band (clip)

A week later my band turned up. Lovely packaging, incidentally. The device itself looks very much like a watch strap without the watch. A silver logo that I'd assumed was the NFC chip is actually the clip, while the active part is in the slightly bulging broader plain portion. Peering through a gap in the band reveals a slim physical card hidden inside.

I activate my bPay band via the web site. There's email and text message notification. Then I top up my bPay band with £25 from my credit card. Again, I receive email and SMS acknowledgement. I could have chosen to automatically reload my card whenever it 'runs out' but I've just gone for a one-off amount.

Incidentally, poking around the bPay web site shows me the 16-digit card number and expiry date. There's even an option to view my CVV - the three-digit security code that's usually on the back of a card - so it looks as though I could use my bPay band for regular non-contactless online payments if I wanted. Incidentally, the expiry date of my bPay band is May next year; less than eight months after it arrived. I wonder what's planned for then?

Physical card inside bPay band

Time for a real-world test. I strap the bPay band to my wrist, slip it under my shirt cuff and head to the local coffee shop that often doubles as my temporary office. "I'll pay with contactless", I say. It's slightly awkward to touch my wrist on the contactless terminal, mainly because it's below the main counter. I try not to give the impression I'm shoplifting biscuits. Eventually, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts, I manage to pay. It seems the secret is realising that the 'contactless' logo on the machine indicates the position of the reader. Obvious when you think about it.

I pick up my coffee - no fumbling to put a card back in my wallet - and walk off. I'm feeling reasonably pleased with myself. However, despite my success, there's no text alert. No email confirmation, either. Despite the initial flurry of messages, no confirmation is sent when I make a transaction. That's disappointing.

Logging in to the bPay web site on my smartphone enables me to check information about my recent payment. The site is optimised for mobile devices, so it's easy to read. But it also emphasises that bPay isn't any more a 'mobile' solution than sticking one of my contactless credit cards to the back of my phone would be. The option of SMS/email transaction updates - or even an app - could have made this feel so much smarter.

Mark Bridge is a freelance writer with a particular fondness for technology. He's one of the team at TheFonecast.com and is also a regular guest on Talk Radio Europe, where he talks about the latest gadgets.
Print
Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Rate this article:
No rating

Categories: Retailing, Applications, OpinionNumber of views: 31918

Tags: uk nfc banking payments barclays

Leave a comment

This form collects your name, email, IP address and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
Add comment

Recent Podcasts

Reviewing our 2015 mobile industry predictions... and looking forward to 2016

Podcast - 15th January 2016

Iain Graham, James Rosewell and Mark Bridge return to review their mobile industry predictions from last year. Which mergers, partnerships and developments did they forecast correctly... and which didn’t work out as planned?

Later in the programme, the team anticipates some of the topics that will be hitting the headlines during 2016.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Podcast from Mobile World Congress 2015

Podcast - 6th March 2015

Mark Bridge learns about the mobile technology trends at Mobile World Congress 2015 by chatting to James Rosewell of 51Degrees, Dr Kevin Curran from the IEEE and Chris Millington of Doro.

They talk about wearable devices, wireless charging, mobile operating systems and much more... including some of their favourite products from the exhibition.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Looking back at February: from security scares to multiple MVNOs

Podcast - 27th February 2015

We're taking a look back at the biggest mobile industry news stories from February 2015, including allegations that the UK's security service tried to breach SIM card security by hacking into one of the world's biggest SIM producers.

We also talk about the planned BT and EE merger, the creation of two new UK virtual networks, some acquisitions in the mobile payment arena and a new Ubuntu smartphone.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Interview with Chris Millington of Doro about mobile retailing, wearables and technology for older consumers

Podcast - 24th February 2015

In today's programme Mark Bridge talks to Chris Millington, who's Managing Director for Doro UK and Ireland.

They discuss the state of mobile retailing in the UK, the future of wearable devices and - as you might expect - smartphones for seniors.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

A month of mobile: O2 counts on 3, Microsoft counts to 10 and Apple counts its profits

Podcast - 30th January 2015

We're back with a month of mobile industry news, including takeover talks and takeover rumours. O2 and Three are said to be discussing a merger... but is there any truth in the suggestions that BlackBerry could be up for grabs?

We also discuss Apple's record-breaking quarterly figures, the highlights of CES and the launch of Microsoft Windows 10, as well as saying farewell to the current version of Google Glass.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
RSS
1345678910Last

Follow thefonecast.com

Twitter @TheFonecast RSS podcast feed
Find us on Facebook Subscribe free via iTunes

Archive Calendar

«November 2022»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829301234
567891011

Archive

Terms Of Use | Privacy Statement