Barclays trials ‘stick-on’ NFC credit cards to help accelerate mobile wave-and-pay adoption

One of the 12 Digital Fundraising Trends for 2012 that I wrote about in January – Contactless Mobile Payments – looks to have continued to develop in the UK with the news that Barclays are to trial a ‘stick-on’ NFC-enabled mini credit card called PayTag. The plan is that Barclays Visa account holders will be able to attach a PayTag to their mobile phone, enabling them to ‘wave-and-pay’ for items of up to £15 (£20 from June) using contactless payment terminals at over 100,000 different retail outlets across the country.

This is an interesting move from the company that pioneered contactless payment cards back in 2007 with its OnePulse card, and a clear attempt to overcome the barrier to smartphone-based contactless payment adoption caused by most smartphones not yet being enabled with the NFC chip needed to make ‘wave-and-pay’ transactions. But with the related report on the BBC News website receiving a mixed response through the several hundred comments it has generated, it remains to be seen how customers will feel about sticking a mini credit card to their phones to be able to join-in the contactless payment revolution.

An initial trial of the cards is to be conducted next Month, and then we’ll have to see whether it has been sufficiently successful to justify a full roll-out to all account holders.

I remain convinced that we will see mass market adoption of contactless mobile payments for low cost transactions – including donations – at some point. However, with a research study released last month reporting that of 2,000 British adults questioned, 60% said they would avoid mobile payments altogether, it may be that it will become important to fundraisers over a 3 to 5 year timescale rather than over the next year or so. Mind you – Visa and Samsung are still set on making the forthcoming 2012 London Olympics a showcase for contactless payment, in the hope that they can use their sponsorship of the event to help accelerate adoption. So, perhaps I should wait until later in the year before flagging this as a slow burn trend?


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