Have you been searching for mobile phones that offer tap and go contactless payments for small purchases in shops? Well you may still have to for the time being even with the news that Barclays and BarclayCard are unveiling a new technology, PayTag, to ensure contactless payments are not just mobile phone and debit card empowered.
For a few years now tap and go payments have been enabled within most major banks credit card and debit cards issued by Mastercard and Visa, thus enabling smaller purchases to be paid for without the need of a PIN or swipe at the shop’s tills.
So called contactless payments are offered by thousands of retailers in the UK and around the world with leading chains and fast food outlets quick to take your money more easily and with more speed. Cash is fast disappearing with the method of payments around the world being electronic, which is good news for Squillions readers who find carrying small change a bugbear.
So what does this mean for the numerous mobile phones that have tap and go technology built in? Well it’s not the end as BarclayCard’s PayTag will only be initially rolled out to those with BarclayCard credit cards – a kind of soft release and there is also the security issue, how secure is a stick on PayTag, how easily can it be stolen.
A PayTag tap and go contactless payment stick on can be stuck anywhere, your forehead, your shoe, your bum, the palm of your hand – that’s handy and can be transferred between old mobile phone to new mobile phone if you choose to stick it where they want you too, on that brand new iPhone 4S… I don’t think so. Then again for all it’s gadgetry, Apple’s iPhone 4S doesn’t have NFC capability – oops.
More on the security issue, they claim they will refund you if charges are made on your account in the event your PayTag gets stolen, of course there would be no such problem if I was paying for a McDonalds with a crisp clean £10 note.
So PayTags may well be highly sought after items by thieves and opportunists and if they can nab your mobile phone at the same time or your shoe if that’s where you stuck it, then there’s a brucey bonus. At least with a tap and go or Orange Quick Tap NFC (near field communication) enabled mobile phone, you were less noticeable.
There is of course, as always, the question of what do the banks get out of this, well those with Squillions or those trying to obtain Squillions may wince at this next point in fact. Banks lose money by staffing branches, they don’t actually wish to see your beautiful mug every week and would much rather talk to you over the phone, if you ever get past the “press number 1 for… and enter your details for account balance” dulcit robotic (human voice – same thing) tones.
Furthermore banks don’t make money when you spend cash, that’s right, every time you use the FREE PayTag you or the retailer will inevitably part with a fee for using such a device, after all electronic transactions don’t go unpaid for.
So while the human race is witnessing the demise of cold hard cash, the banks are rubbing their hands at the millions of micro payment PayTag, tap and go, Google Wallet, Visa’s PayWave, Mastercard PayPass, Orange’s Quick Tap, Vodafone’s mobile wallet contactless payment fees heading their way every time you buy a finger lickin’ KFC bargain bucket or newspaper.
2012 may well be the year of the Olympics but it’s certainly also a race for the contactless payment vendors, most new mobile phones on the market are NFC enabled but quite which technology will win the Gold medal is yet to be seen. Visa seemingly won the credit card and debit card battle in the UK but security will be high on the agenda.
So whether it’s BarclayCard’s PayTag which can be stuck anywhere and easily stolen, Orange’s limited prepay account or Google’s connectivity that wins, you’re safe in the knowledge that the Royal Mint will be extinct with ten years and the Queen’s head will stop rolling. Begging your pardon Ma’am.