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Barclaycard Paytag: NFC payments are accessible to mobile users from any phone

Barclaycard has unveiled PayTag; a scheme, which brings NFC contactless payment technology to every mobile devices everywhere – even those without a built-in NFC chip.

The Barclaycard PayTag is designed to fit to the back of your existing phone, whatever the make/model, and allows you to pay for items up to the sum of £15 (increasing to £20 in June) simply by passing the device over the corresponding reader, if you’ve got a Barclaycard.

Barclaycard’s basis for creating the PayTag is that research has shown that half the people aged 18-24 year-old, almost always carry their mobile phone, whilst only a third regularly carry their wallet.

Barclaycard has been working on contactless payment systems for a while now. The company implemented the first wave of contactless cards in 2007 and now there are over 100,000 compatible readers in use in the UK, which is expected to rise to 150,000 by the year’s end.

Contactless readers are already in use in a number of well known stores such as Boots, McDonalds, WH Smith, Tesco, and EAT. As such there are enough readers for users to make good use of it straight away.

As well as an increasing number of retailers and chains joining the service, users will be able to use PayTag to pay their fares on London buses before the end of 2012, an ability which will extend to underground and rail services in the city across 2013.

This company is already planning on offering PayTag cards to a select group of Barclaycard Visa holders to use across the summer during the Jubilee and the Olympics as a trial, before extending the service to all of their Visa cardholders before the end of the year.

With security in mind, Barclaycard assures its customers that should their phone/PayTag be lost or stolen, the card can be cancelled much like a typical credit card over the phone and any expenditure, refunded.

In our brief hands-on with the technology at a demonstration in London, cardboard cut-out demo phone in-hand, PayTag attached to its back, we were impressed – simply touch the tag to the reader for a matter of seconds and the cost of the transaction is covered. It’s certainly easier than digging in your pocket for change and means you can get the advantage of NFC without needing a specific phone.

The company is clearly eager to push the PayTag system out to their customers and will be offering it for free to every Barclaycard Visa holder by the end of 2012.

In its current form, PayTag is about a third the size of a standard credit card and features an adhesive back which can stick to any device or surface you wish

PlayTag is fairly discrete, although not every smartphone user will like having a sticking on the back of their phone

PlayTag can be used on top of a case

Places like EAT, Tesco and Boots already offer contactless purchasing, but the service will extend to more companies and apply to more services including public transport in London.

In our demo we actually had a cardboard cutout phone to use – but you get the idea

An increasing number of users are likely to see the benefits of no longer requiring their wallet for small transactions made capable by PayTag.

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