Barclaycard Plans Contactless Stickers and Wristbands

Oct 1 2010

Barclaycard confirmed it is working on contactless stickers and wristbands in addition to its contactless card and planned NFC mobile-payment rollouts.

A spokeswoman for Barclaycard, the credit card arm of UK-based Barclays bank, confirmed Barclaycard representatives discussed the developments at a roundtable held today. She also confirmed that Barclaycard was in discussions with a company that develops attachments that can turn smartphones into mobile point-of-sale terminals. But she said the provider is not U.S.-based Square, as originally reported by financial technology news site Finextra. Square's technology can turn Apple's iPhone into a POS terminal for swipe transactions.

Barclaycard will continue to develop a prototype POS attachment for the iPhone it unveiled during a presentation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last February. The device accepts both chip-and-PIN and contactless payments. But the bank declined to say what vendor it is working with on the device.

Colin Swain, Barclaycard head of research and development, said the bank is developing the stickers for mobile phones and the wristbands for entertainment events. The stickers are expected to be passive, which consumers could attach to their phones or other devices and tap just as they do contactless cards. The payment application, stored in contactless chips in the stickers, would not be able to communicate directly with the phones. 

The wristbands could be loaded with prepaid value for attendees at music festivals or other events, Swain said, according to Finextra. It was unclear when Barclaycard might introduce the stickers or wristbands, however. It could happen before Barclaycard's planned NFC launch, which is expected late this year or early next year. Swain reportedly said an announcement of the mobile POS terminal could happen within the next 12 months, though declined to name the device developer.

Barclaycard and Barclays are leading the rollout of contactless debit and credit cards and terminals in the United Kingdom and have about 8 million cards on issue. The bank plans to launch NFC mobile payment and other applications with Orange UK and Orange's joint venture with T-Mobile, called Everything Everywhere Ltd. 

Barclaycard also said the bank it is working on "cloud" technology for contactless transaction data, enabling the bank to send receipts to consumers' mobile phones rather than printing them out, Finextra reported. And the bank and London transit authority Transport for London reportedly plan to begin to trial contactless open-loop payments on London buses by 2011 and on the London Underground by 2012. 

Stuart Neal, head of UK payment acceptance for Barclaycard also spoke at the roundtable, among others.

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