Barclaycard has introduced wearable ‘bPay’ wristbands that can be used in shops to make instant payments.
Part of of a range of ‘tap and pay’ devices, the wristbands will be joined by fobs and stickers and work in a similar way to contactless cards. The new gadgets can be used at any of the 300,000-plus locations in the UK that accept contactless payments.
Available online from Wednesday for those aged 12 and above, the wristband is priced at £24.99, the fob, which can be attached to a key ring or bag, is priced at £19.99 and the sticker, which can be attached to items to transform them into a contactless way to pay, will cost £14.99.
The wristband and the fob will also go on sale on the high street from August and will be available to anyone with a UK-registered Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, not just Barclaycard and Barclays customers.
People using the devices will be able to set them up by going to a website or using an app. They can choose to top the devices up with set amounts of cash if they want to.
Apart from the up-front cost of buying the devices, there are no transaction, usage or top-up fees for consumers, Barclaycard said, though a £20 transaction limit will apply to the devices. The contactless transaction limit is increasing to £30 from September.
Payments made using the wearable devices will also have the same fraud protections as contactless cards and if the devices are lost or stolen they can be remotely shut down via the bPay mobile app or the bPay website.
Asked how children aged 12 might use the devices, a spokeswoman for Barclaycard said that parents could have their children’s devices linked to their account.
As the parent can set the amount of cash that the device is topped up with, they can control how much their child spends.
A bPay wristband was launched in June last year and registrations for it spiked after Transport for London went contactless in September. The new wristband has been developed following feedback on the one launched previously.
Barclaycard has also recently trialled pairs of contactless payment gloves which could be used by people touching the back of their hand on the reader at the till.
According to a recent report from the UK Cards Association, 2014 saw a ‘rapid growth’ in contactless card use, with £2.32 billion of spending. More contactless transactions took place during the first nine months of the year than the previous six years combined.
The British Bankers’ Association recently said that consumers using contactless cards have collectively saved more than 93 years at the check-out since they were introduced.
On average, it takes half a second to tap and go with a contactless card while it takes seven seconds to pay by chip and Pin, it said.
Barclaycard’s managing director for digital consumer payments, Mike Saunders, Mike Saunders, said: “We’re in the midst of a sweeping change in the way we pay, with cash-dominated transactions being replaced by ‘touch and go’ contactless technology that has made it easier, safer and faster to make low-value payments.
"The launch of our bPay band last year was an evolutionary step for the business.”