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: 32004

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

Tesco gets into smartphones, Facebook gets into advertising... and O2 gets into trouble

Podcast - 7th May 2014

We start this week's podcast with Tesco's plans for a Hudl-branded smartphone. Next comes some potentially good news about the 'patent wars' affecting the mobile industry - although there's certainly no sign of a ceasefire.

Later we discuss an announcement from Facebook about its mobile advertising scheme, an unfortunate mistake for O2's Travel service, a new 20 megapixel camera-phone and an automotive investment by Nokia.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Bringing video services to smartphones: interview with Jijesh Devan of QuickPlay Media

Podcast - 2nd May 2014

In this interview Mark Bridge talks to Jijesh Devan of QuickPlay Media about the opportunities and challenges of bringing video services to smartphones and other internet-connected devices.

Their conversation took place on the QuickPlay stand inside the App Planet area of Mobile World Congress in February.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Faulty phones, network closures, court cases, payment apps... and much more mobile industry news

Podcast - 30th April 2014

We have something for everyone in this week's podcast. There's bad news as Samba Mobile closes, bad news as Apple and Samsung suffer product faults... and bad news as wearable devices are criticised for the poor user experience they offer.

Yet there's plenty of good news as well, including the launch of a new UK mobile payment service.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

Seven days of mobile industry news, from money transfers to monster tracking

Podcast - 23rd April 2014

Telefonica sets up its own mobile advertising business, Mozilla puts an interim CEO in place and Nokia suspends sales of its flagship Windows 8.1 RT tablet: all topics for discussion in this week's podcast.

We're also talking about the future growth of Orange Money, EE's online activity, mobile broadband growth and the Loch Ness monster being spotted on Apple iPhones.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating

An introduction to embedded mobile security with Loic Hamon of Inside Secure

Podcast - 18th April 2014

When the topics of mobile technology and security are discussed, the conversation can end up focussing on third-party software solutions.

Inside Secure has a different perspective. It's a specialist in embedded security; building protection in from the start. To learn more, Mark Bridge caught up with Loic Hamon, Vice President of Corporate Development at Inside Secure, at the company's hospitality suite during Mobile World Congress.

Author: The Fonecast
0 Comments
Article rating: No rating
RSS
First34568101112Last

Follow thefonecast.com

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

Archive Calendar

«December 2022»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
2829301234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678

Archive

Terms Of Use | Privacy Statement