Barclaycard, a division of the UK’s prominent Barclays financial institution, has announced a few new contactless payment devices to be released for online order this week. The offerings include a fob, a sticker, and the ‘bPay’ wristband.
All of these new devices can be used at over 300,000 retail locations in the country, and are available for less than £25. They can be set up via a mobile app or website, and even MasterCard and Visa customers who don’t bank with Barclaycard will be able to sign up their credit cards for the fob or wristband.
Interestingly, none of the devices use any particular mode of authentication when used at the POS; they function just like a regular contactless credit card using NFC technology, with users having the ability to cancel them via the website or mobile app should the devices be misplaced or stolen. It’s a surprising approach given Barclays’ announcement last fall that it would explore biometric authentication, at least for its corporate clients to start, in 2015; and given that a few months ago Barclays joined the Open Identity Exchange, a cross-industry group seeking to improve trust in online transactions.
That could prove a disadvantage if Barclays is trying to compete against the likes of Apple Pay and other looming mPayment platforms, given their tendency to rely on biometric authentication as a security baseline for mobile transactions, and how consumers are consequently coming to expect such security. At the same time, Barclaycards’ new devices are bad news for Apple, as the company has been negotiating with Barclays to get the holdout bank onboard with Apple Pay in the UK and now Barclays is even more deeply invested in its own, competing services.
Source: Yahoo News UK & Ireland