How we pay for goods is evolving but will Barclaycard’s new range of wearable payment devices become a game changer for the payments industry?

The new products are a significant development for a country that, according to the UK Cards Association, saw contactless payments increase by more than three times year-on-year in 2014.
Giles Parkinson, spokesman for the Association said this figure is expected to grow as new technologies enter the market: “Wearable devices create another way to make contactless transactions, with an increasing number of offerings and uses on the market.”

A game changer?

Barclaycard has unveiled three new wearable payment devices in the UK, a wristband, a fob and a sticker. Know as bPay with no connection to Australia's BPAY, each uses contactless payment technology powered by a secure digital wallet.

Mike Saunders, Managing Director, Digital Consumer Payments at Barclaycard says the new products are being released after years of testing and “offer a level of ease and convenience unrivalled by other payment methods.”
The devices are for low value payments – less than £20 – currently the industry limit agreed on by contactless payment providers throughout the UK, which could further reduce the frequency that cash is used for low value transactions.

What are they?

The new products are payment devices, powered by a digital wallet linked to any of the three devices.
Customers can top up their mobile wallets at any time online or by using the mobile app or automatically when their fund balance falls below a pre-set level.
The wristband can be adjusted, the fob can be attached to a keyring or bag and the sticker can become a personalised contactless payment method when attached to any flat surface such as a mobile phone.

Who can get them?

From August, the devices will be sold online and in selected UK stores to anyone who has a UK-registered Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card. However, Barclaycard said there are currently no plans to introduce the service in Australia.

What can they be used for?

The devices can be used at over 300,000 locations in the UK to pay for transactions up to £20, rising to £30 in September 2015.
The ‘intelligent’ app means users can manage their accounts, see transactions, top-up funds and change device settings on the go.

How much do they cost?

The sticker costs £14.99, the fob £19.99 and the band £24.99. The wallet and devices are free to use and there are no transaction, top-up or usage fees, including when using the devices abroad.
Anyone aged 12 or over can use the products wherever the contactless sign is shown.

One to watch

The question Barclaycard hope to find a positive answer to is whether consumers are willing to pay £15 - £25 for the option of leaving their wallet at home.

Speaking to the potential uptake Michelle Whiteman, Senior Communications Officer at Payments UK, said: “Making payments in the UK using a wearable device, such as a bracelet or watch is another exciting development, offering consumers ever more choice. Ultimately as with any innovation in payments, it will be consumers who shape the future.”
Consumer attitudes to the new Barclaycard products is no doubt something Australian firms will be closely observing.


This article represents the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BPAY.
Published by BPAY Pty Ltd.  BPAY is offered by over 150 Financial Institutions. Contact your Financial Institution to see if it offers BPAY and to get the terms and conditions. This is general advice – before using BPAY please review the terms and conditions and consider whether BPAY is appropriate for your personal circumstances.