Barclays PayTag turns mobiles into credit cards

A new miniature credit card lets mobile phone users make cashless payments through “tap and go” technology. The PayTag, unveiled by Barclays this week, is about a third of the size of a normal credit card and can be stuck to the back of a handset.

To make a payment the phone is tapped on a special terminal. The microchipped tag then communicates with the terminal via an antenna to pass on the customer’s account details and confirm a payment without having to enter a PIN.

Concerns have been expressed over the security of payments that do not require manual security measures such as entering a PIN. But Barclays have announced the system comes with 100 per cent fraud protection.

David Chan, the chief executive of Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said: ‘More than half of us say that the item we’re most lost without is our mobile phone, so we’re giving people the option of using them to make easy, convenient, everyday payments.’

A growing amount of retailers are expected to roll out the tap and go system currently available in store at Waitrose, Boots and Tesco outlets, and elsewhere. London buses will accept cashless payments by the end of the year.

Research commissioned by Barclaycard forecasts that £3 billion worth of purchases will be made with mobile phones in the UK in 2016. Payments firm Visa predicts the number of contactless point-of-sale terminals in the UK will increase by 50% this year.

To use PayTag, Barclaycard customers can register online on the company’s website. More banks are expected to adopt the technology.

Earlier this year Barclays pioneered the Pingit smartphone app that lets users transfer money from their account to any other Pingit user simply by entering a pass code.

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