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.