A new idea is hitting Britain and is aiming to spike use of credit cards through mobile or "contactless payments". Credit and debit customers who are with Barclay and have Barclaycards are now eligible to sign up and receive something known as PayTag, which can be tapped against terminals to automatically pay for purchases that would otherwise be made with a credit card.
The PayTag is about one-third the size of a traditional credit card, can be easily stuck or attached to the back of a cell phone or mobile device and is linked to your Barclaycard account. This approach makes it perfect for quick transactions that do not require the use of a PIN.
The PayTag is being billed as an object of convenience and is another way that card issuers are attempting to coerce their customers into adopting technologies such as NFC. The market base as a whole has been quite resistant to switching over and using cards in a way different than what we are used to (swipe and go). Currently, PayTag is being released to a select few and will be available to all within a few weeks. It allows you to make instant, contactless payments for items costing up to 15 GBP.
Nevertheless, the infrastructure for contactless payments is ever growing and currently has over 100,000 terminals and 23 million contactless cards throughout Britain. Card issuers are pushing and betting on mobile phones to break the trend that otherwise has been an incredible failure; in 2011, Britain only registered 20 million GBP in contactless payment transactions.
As the phone has slowly but surely replaced items in our life like alarm clocks, watches, calculators and even more modern releases like MP3 players, card issuers are "banking" on the technology slowly being absorbed into the technology and mindset of their customers.