UK credit card Barclaycard will this week (1 July) debut three bPay payment bands – a wristband, fob and sticker – that will enable users to make contactless payments.
The card firm, which is part of Barclays bank, envisages a number of markets for the devices – public transport users, shoppers, sports and fitness fans and parents (anyone over the age of twelve can be a bPay user).
The devices are backed by an online portal and app, effectively a mobile wallet, through which users can buy, manage and top up their devices from their PC and smartphone, respectively. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.
However, the devices can only be used for transactions up to £20, rising to £30 when the limit for contactless payments is itself raised in September. The devices can be used at over 300,000 locations across the UK.
bPay is a Visa-backed prepaid account which users can top up with UK-registered Visa or MasterCard debit or credit cards. It is open to users of non-Barclaycard cards. Funds can be added online (via the portal) or through the app, or set to auto top-up. The app links to “most major credit or debit cards”, the announcement says.
Although the devices can be used to pay for individual journeys on TfL in the same way as an Oyster card, they do not work with season tickets, child tickets and discounts. The device can be used to purchase a discounted travel ticket from a TfL kiosk or machine as long as the purchase is for £20 or under.
The devices are competitively priced – £15 for the sticker, which can be attached to smartphones or any device with a flat surface in excess of 1 x 1.5 inches; £20 for the fob and £25 for the band.
As well as the bPay online store, the devices will be available from retail stores from August. So far, the only retailer partners definitely announced are outdoor specialists Cyclesurgery and Runners Need, both part of Snow + Rock group.
If lost or stolen, users can shut down their device remotely using the app or website or by contacting bPay directly.
Barclaycard launched a first-generation payment band in 2014 via a large-scale trial. It withdrew the first-gen band at the end of May and said it planned to launch a successor.
Retailers who will accept contactless transactions from the bPay devices include Eat, M&S, Thorntons, Pret, McDonald’s, David Lloyd, Transport for London, Starbucks, Waitrose, The Co-op, WH Smith and Boots.