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Barclaycard PayTag - Is Useful NFC Already Here?

Andrew Williams


Barclaycard PayTag
Barclaycard PayTag

Barclaycard has announced PayTag, perhaps the most useful application of mobile phone-related NFC technology yet. And you don't even need an NFC-capable phone to use it.

PayTag is a sticker that adheres to the back of your phone, housing its own NFC chip - a bit like an Oyster card attached to your mobile. It'll let you pay for items under £15 instantly in retailers that use the contactless payment system - now built into some credit cards. Retailers that use the system include McDonalds, WH Smith and Waitrose. It'll be available for free to Barclaycard customers, and the £15 purchase limit will be raised to £20 come June.

CEO of Barclaycard Consumer Europe said, "more than half of us say that the item we’re most lost without is our mobile phone, so we’re giving people the option of using them to make easy, convenient, everyday payments without the need to upgrade their current handset."

This highly accessible scheme is good news for the future of NFC. At present, only new, high-end handsets feature NFC chips, and - crucially - no iPhones have NFC built-in. If successful, PayTag will be a big step forward for raising awareness of wireless payments, beyond the tech geek crowd who know what NFC stands for. It's Near Field Communication, if you're wondering. Most applications of NFC to date have been fairly trifling things, such as sharing contacts and other small files, which was possible using other technologies already.

NFC - the future or a fad? Let us know your thoughts.

Russell Peto

April 20, 2012, 5:56 pm

I know this is an odd question, but does anybody know how thick this thing is? If it's thin enough to fit inside my iPhone case without rendering it unusable I think we have a winner...


April 20, 2012, 8:56 pm

Unlike Google Wallet and other phone-based NFC payment systems, this doesn't communicate with the phone's electronics in any way. So why stick it to your expensive phone at all? Why not attach it to your keychain, or perhaps your wallet?. Except of course, sticking it to your wallet would be a redundant exercise, since your wallet already contains your NFC Barclaycard.

This just strikes me as something to placate anyone who feels left out because their phone doesn't support NFC.


April 20, 2012, 9:24 pm

I have to agree with Chris here. As it doesn't communicate with the phone in anyway I can't see how it is phone related at all. I could stick it to the palm of my hand for even more convenience. If I wanted I could stick it to a passing cat. NFC is great on credit cards and the phones it is already in. But this idea seems pretty pointless.


April 20, 2012, 10:20 pm

I think some people are missing the point. People are more likely to take their phone with them when they leave home than any other item. If a sticker on the phone can also provide NFC, the phone can be used instead of a credit card or wallet (for small sums). The sticker adds additional functionality to your phone or *anywhere* you care to stick it! But the phone seems most convenient to me.

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