Partly because I want to be down with the kids and partly because of my job, I recently took delivery of a lovely new Barclaycard PayTag. This I duly stuck to my phone, as suggested, and prepared to be part of the new wave of consumers who can leave their
wallets at home (personally, I’d rather leave my phone at home but don’t tell anyone).
Not long afterwards I noticed that my phone was behaving very strangely. Every time I unlocked it, it generated an ‘empty tag’ screen that I had to delete. Using the keypad during calls (for example to call centres) became nightmarish as every time I moved
the phone, I generated another tag, which switched the keypad off. As I’d recently downloaded an Android update, I assumed that this was to blame and hoped there’d be another release soon to get rid of the problem.
It wasn’t till I was fiddling around with my Wi-fi settings that I noticed that NFC on the phone was switched on. The phone (a Samsung S3) and the tag were fighting with each other. I switched it off, removed the tag just in case and the problem stopped.
I’d actually quite like to keep NFC enabled on my phone (it goes with the job) so where do I stick the tag? Not to my beautiful, expensive, new leather purse, for a start. Nor is there any point in putting it in the purse where it would nestle next to my
Barclaycard and cause no end of collisions. I’m not sure I want to attach it to my keyring (more expensive leather) or to the Cryptocard that hangs from it. Nor to my passport either or to my driving licence, which lives in my purse. It’s a bit too big to
stick to a lipstick or a pen. I don’t remember anything about this befuddling issue in the otherwise exhaustive pack of paperwork from Barclaycard that came with the tag.
So what’s the point of this? After all, I’m not writing an accessories column for a style blog (it’s a red, faux-snake Longchamp purse by the way – to die for, darling). The point, it seems, is that I know what NFC is because I work for a company that is
expert in NFC and so I didn’t take too long to figure out what the problem was. For the regular punter, that is unlikely to be the case and as a result, I predict that there will be an uplift of people taking their tag-encrusted,NFC- enabled phones into their
local MNO shop, complaining that it’s broken. This is actually a great opportunity for Barclaycard and network operators to do some positive education around NFC – not just about tags but about contactless in general. As the reader comments resulting from
the recent M&S contactless press scare showed, there’s certainly a need for that.
Where would you stick your PayTag if not to your phone?