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Taking wave and pay to the fields, and the masses!

Barclaycard has made yet another foray into the contactless arena having announced last week it would utilise its sponsorship of the Wireless Festival in early July to roll out contactless wrist bands to festival goers. The ‘PayBands’ will allow revellers to make cashless payments throughout the three day event as well as benefit from other incentives such as fast-track entry and VIP upgrades.

The aim is to get people attending Wireless to leave their wallets at home and load money onto their wrist bands either before, or while they are at the event, via a debit or credit card. The plan, and selling point, is that the scheme will reduce all too familiar cases of lost, or at worst stolen, cash or cards.

Between 60,000 and 70,000 people attended Wireless last year, the majority of which were in the 18 to 35 year old category – the exact group of people at the forefront of technology adoption. The fact that so many people will be exposed to contactless technology is yet another marketing coup for Barclaycard, as is PayTag, in gaining valuable insight into consumers’ transactional behaviour.

It’s also however, an enormous boost for the wider payments industry, as it gives NFC technology valuable exposure to demonstrate that it offers a simple and secure method of payment as well as pave the way for other new and innovative payment means, such as mobile payments, to take off.

It is also a great opportunity to test the infrastructure in place. It’s no secret the Olympics will act as the first major introduction to mobile and contactless payment technology for the majority of the UK population. The use of contactless technology, a few weeks before the Olympics kick off, is a valuable testing ground in order to gauge just what percentage of people are likely to use the system, as well as how it holds up in a particular area, over a prolonged period of time, under high demand. I, for one, will be very interested to see what statistics are shared after this event. 

Initiatives such as this around contactless and mobile payments need to continue to be implemented more frequently around the UK, even when the Olympics have moved onto the next destination. They will serve to engrain mobile payments into the everyday lives of UK consumers, push the scale of technology capabilities and make continued inroads to becoming the wallet of choice – no matter if you’re going to see Rihanna at Hyde Park or to the corner store for a pint of milk. 


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