Barclaycard explores contactless future

Barclaycard explores contactless future

Barclaycard is set to ramp up its investment in contactless technology with the introduction of new form factors, including NFC stickers for mobile handsets and pre-paid wristbands for festival goers.

The bank's new strategies for contactless - which also entail cloud-based data initiatives - were unveiled at a roundtable held Thursday morning with a variety of high street retailers at the UK fast food establishment EAT in Southbank in London.

In addition to card-based contactless technology, Colin Swain, head of research and development at Barclaycard, says that the bank is now developing wristband, mobile and sticker products for contactless payments. Wristband contactless payments are designed to be used at events, such as music festivals, to offer patrons pre-paid payments options for concessions, says Swain.

Much like other banks, Barclays is unveiling payments stickers for mobile phones as well as developing fully fledged mobile payments applications. Swain says that Barclaycard expects the UK public, as well as the US public, to be using their mobile phones for payments regularly within two to three years.

For mobile payments Barclaycard is working with mobile services provider Orange as well as a range of "other technology and hardware providers" says Swain.

In February, the bank unveiled a prototype system that turns smart phones into chip and PIN card payment terminals at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This type of technology could be used by market stall sellers and other small retail and wholesalers, says Swain, and could be commercially available in 12 months time.

On other fronts, Swain says Barclaycard is also developing a 'private cloud' to hold transactional data for contactless payments, sending receipts from a sale to a mobile phone, rather than printed on paper.

Barclays currently has eight million branded contactless cards, either debit or credit, in circulation in the UK. The roll out of these cards is being distributed to customers as their current debit or credit cards expire. Rachel Collier, senior product manager at Barclaycard, says this rollout has currently reached half of the bank's consumer card base.

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