Barclaycard readies ‘mobile’ contactless card

Barclaycard is hoping to accelerate uptake of contactless payment by launching a mobile phone accessory that can be used to buy items at any retailer offering the service.


“PayTag” is designed to stick to the back of any mobile phone . It can be used by Barclaycard customers to make payments of £15 or under, rising to £20 in June, at any retailer that has contactless terminals.  Payments will be added to a customer’s account.

An “exclusive” group of customers in London and the south east have been invited to use the cards with the hope that a significant number will accept by June. It is expected that the card will be offered to all customers by the end of 2012.

Contactless options have been limited to date with only a handful of mobile operators offering contactless-ready devices and a limited number of retailers such as Waitrose and McDonald’s hosting terminals.


Research by YouGov earlier this year also found reluctance among contactless customers to use their cards.

Barclaycard, however, claims that the number of terminals in the UK, will rise by 50% to 150,000 this year and that most retailers are preparing to roll-out contactless services.

A marketing campaign designed to push the cards and raise awareness of contactless will launch in the summer.    

Unveiling the card at an event in London, David Chan, CEO of Barclaycard’s consumer business in Europe, said that PayTag is part of a long-term drive to “free payment from plastic”. It will also serve as a tool to get consumers used to paying for goods using their mobiles ahead of a wider rollout of mobile contactless payment options, he adds.  

Google and O2’s mobile “wallet” service are expected to launch in the UK this year.  

The Barclays-owned brand has introduced several contactless initiatives since its first service launched in 2007. Last week, Barclaycard and Orange announced that their mobile payments application, the Quick Tap wallet, will be made available to credit or debit card holders from all UK banks.

Barclays launched Pingit, which allows customers to send and receive money via mobile, using only phone numbers and not bank details, earlier this year.

Commissioned research from Ernst & Young forecasts that £3bn worth of purchases will be made with mobile phones in the UK in 2016.

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