back to article Forget bonking, have ONE OFF THE WRIST with Barclaycard's bPay

Barclaycard is trying to push consumers towards a cashless society with its contactless payment wristband, bPay. The technology is positioned as a competitor to Google Wallet and PayPal and the Apple Pay. These NFC-based smartphone technologies are debuting in the US, whereas bPay will be available much sooner in the UK. …

  1. Only me!

    Muggers are coming

    I can see a whole new style of mugging heading to people that have this on their wrist.

    1. phil dude

      Re: Muggers are coming

      That was my first thought...but if it only has 20 quid on it, and doesn't require you have a bank card (so you can't be marched to the cashpoint) or phone (if the networks can make them unusable), perhaps it is not worth the aggravation.

      Then again, when has mugging been a logical decision....


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Muggers are coming

        The artical says before paying up to £20 for something......that's £20 per purchase, not just £20 sitting on your wrist.....your wrist could be worth a lot more than £20!!!!

        1. Fluffy Bunny

          Re: Muggers are coming

          Actually, the muggers are already here. They already take your wallet, wristwatch, jewelery, etc. What difference does a (what is effectively a) prepaid credit card attached to your wrist make?

  2. Thecowking

    Preloaded contactless

    that doesn't mean I need to get a card or phone out of my pocket?

    I'm interested, I won't lie. I might look like a plonker waving my wrist at the till, but at least I'll be a plonker who can call it early adoption.

    Hurrah! If I can add cash to it from my phone it'll make it extremely convenient for me. Hopefully it'll mean the end to my shrapnel piles around the house if it takes off.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Preloaded contactless

      > I'm interested, I won't lie.

      So was I. So I went to the web site and... failed to sign up. Eventually, after dicking about on two or three different pages I came to the conclusion that they had enough people on the trial and weren't going to sign up any more. Quite why they couldn't actually say that is a mystery.

  3. Yugguy

    I would prefer this

    I would much prefer a single point of contactless. (see what I did there?) So that in the inevitable future when I have a wallet full of contactless cards all trying to be the first to uncontrollably lose me money, I can buy an RFID blocking wallet and know exactly what device will be doing the losing.

    I jdon't want this device to be my rather expensive smartphone either.

    1. Brenda McViking

      Re: I would prefer this

      But why not a smartphone?

      I see this opinion a lot on here, but don't fully understand why - I'm genuinely interested. If you told me that I could ditch the wallet/purse entirely, and just needed to carry a smartphone, I'd be fine with that. I don't get why in 2014 I still need to carry around keys, metal coins, a wallet full of plastic loyalty cards and the odd paper note when the technology exists to just put it into my communication device, which I alreay take everywhere, and then control it via an app.

      Is it the fact that mobiles run out of battery?

      Is it the fact that it's an internet enabled device and entrusting bank details to it is asking for trouble?

      Do you think it makes it more of a target than it already is to an opportunistic thief?

      1. Yugguy

        Re: I would prefer this

        My phone stays in my pocket as I am not one of those who feels the need to shuffle, zombie-like, staring into it constantly. It very rarely comes out in the street unless I am making a call (amazing concept I know...)

        I am by no means the toughest person on this planet but I am a keen weightlifter and many years ago a keen boxer and I'll wager I have a good chance of stopping someone trying to get it out my pocket or ripping a wristband off me. I don't think I'd be the first person they decided to mug.

        As to electronic keys - not as long as I am alive would I want such a thing.

        Lastly. Currently, say I lose my keys, I still have my phone and wallet. I lose my phone, I still have keys and wallet. I lose my wallet, I still have keys and phone. In any of these situations I can still get home or get help.

        In the brave new world where it's ALL on a smartphone.

        I lose my smartphone....

  4. I Am Spartacus

    Which wrist do you put it on?

    If you are getting on a tube, it need to be on the right wrist. If getting on a bus it needs to be on your left wrist at the drivers entrance. Or do you have one on each wrist.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Which wrist do you put it on?

      And where do you put it if you are armless?

      Ok, I'm gone

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which wrist do you put it on?

        You clever-dick.

        Also gone.

        1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: Which wrist do you put it on?

          And how about an armless girl?

    2. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Re: Which wrist do you put it on?

      Number of the Beast. Right hand, or forehead.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Which wrist do you put it on?

        So it'd come in a headband as well? I'd live with the end of the world in exchange for the sight of people headbutting the barriers on the tube to get in.

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Gareth Hunt ...

    why did I have this memory of Gareth Hunt, offering everyone a coffee ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A revelationary beast...

    And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.

    1. Yugguy

      Re: A revelationary beast...

      The beast is the EU.

      The whore of Babylon is the Catholic Church.

  7. ChrisPW

    I've got one

    the wrist strap is ugly as hell, but the card is removable.

    taped to the inside of my mobile phone case it works perfectly.

    1. Neil 51

      Re: I've got one

      How big is the actual card? Could it be attached to an existing watch? Or even an oversized ring?

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: I've got one

        It could be......... but that would involve being able to sit on the reader.

      2. ChrisPW

        Re: I've got one

        It is a bit smaller than two (full sized) sim cards, *might* work with a watch but not with a ring.

        Confuses the poor staff in my local Tesco when I wave my phone at the tills each lunchtime, but they will have to get used to that eventually ...

  8. Darren B 1

    By the idiots who thought....

    it was a good idea to send customers (through the post) a couple of sticky "wave pay" labels in a letter to attach to the back of your phone etc to save getting out your Barclaycard at the till. The letter was even sent in the name of the head of Barclaycard saying how it was so good he wanted me to have it and stick on my phone as I was constantly using it so it save me time at the till.

    My problem with all that was that:

    I didn't ask for it,

    I didn't know it was coming

    It was sent via an insecure delivery system

    It was good at the time for £10 no questions asked.

    It didn't need activating.

    I had to dispose of it.

    I hope they don't do the same stunt again, getting rid if a wristband will be much harder than shredding a sticker.

    BTW, I am a happy contactless payment user (I use it all the time) but I prefer to use the actual card.

  9. Fab De Marco

    Is London the way to trial?

    Outside London £20 will do you aright. But you'd surely be topping up another £20 after buying 2 coffees and a couple of croissants

    1. Boothy

      Re: Is London the way to trial?

      £20 is a max single payment you can make, not the amount on the device.

      You could have £100 or more on the device itself.

  10. John Sturdy
    Black Helicopters

    All these cashless systems will be guaranteed support those who like mass surveillance.

  11. Tsung

    Only £20.. a time.. However, automatic top up, means a stolen bpay band could be used to buy a lot of alcohol / cigarettes before being stopped. In a day, if auto-top up is selected, at the lowest amount £100 could be stolen the maximum amount £600.

    (4 tops up x £20 + £20 on the band already )


    (4 top up x £100 +£200 on the band already )

    Ok it's unlikely, but still possible.

  12. Yugguy

    The BIGGEST reason for the resistance to this technology

    Is, like Apple's U2 fail, is that we are not given a CHOICE.

    If Barclaycard had asked me if I had wanted a contactless card, I might have said yes.

    But they didn't ask, they just sent it me.

    Which is why it now languishes in my safe, earning them nothing. I use it for the 3 year 0% balance offer. I do not and will not EVER use it for purchases. When I have paid off the balance (sweet 3 year 0% loan basically), it will get cancelled and shredded.

    Yeah, I am probably cutting off my nose to spite my face.

    But it feels good to stick the middle finger up to them.

    The only card I'll have to have contactless if it goes that way is the Sainsburys one. Cos it earns me nectar points on the shopping.

    1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Re: The BIGGEST reason for the resistance to this technology

      I do the same with the HSBC account I got when I took out a mortgage with them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the ban of cash on London’s public transport systems..."

    Really? Presumably he means you can't pay for public transport with cash, rather than that you aren't alllowed to carry cash on public transport!

    I'm with John Sturdy on this, not allowing cash payments is great for the surveillance state, also it seems like a nice way of excluding what some might see as undesirable people from what should be public services. On a low income and no bank account, want to catch a bus? Sorry, no contactless payment, no ride!

    1. MrWibble

      Re: "the ban of cash on London’s public transport systems..."

      "also it seems like a nice way of excluding what some might see as undesirable people from what should be public services"

      I think it's meant to keep the type of undesirables that wave knives at bus drivers from what should be public services.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: "the ban of cash on London’s public transport systems..."

      I have this thing called a "wallet" that is really convenient because I can carry all my cards in it, but there's currently a recorded announcement on the Underground that tells you not to keep your Oyster card next to your credit card.

      My view is that they should have sorted that out when they designed the Oyster card. It's not like credit cards were previously unknown.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh.. Don't want Contactless cards, but this has promise if its really PAYG.

    While running an event all last week we had two cards handed in. Both were contactless, and so presumably anyone who found them (or me if so inclined) could have bonk'ed away a bundle of sub £20 purchases until I tripped an alert and it asked for a PIN, I ran the account out of money, or the unlucky owner only found out he'd lost it and stopped the card later.

    PAYG on the otherhand appeals to me as its specifically NOT linked to my bank account so I have some degree of control over it, and the worst I'm out if I lose it is the balance on the card..

    And Yes I did report both cards to the respective banks and get them stopped the morning after they were handed in so the unlucky loser was hopefully not out of pocket.

  15. kmac499

    Digital Wallet

    The bPay Card can be slipped out of the band but it is a little large to tuck under a watch strap. If a hole was drilled in it, It could fit on a keyring like the express loyalty cards do..

    I can think of a couple of ways it's service can be improved..

    1) Two factor\finger authentication

    All machines accepting bPay or any of it'sdigpurse variant friends just have the contact pad converted to a button. That is; as you hold your digipurse over the reader you have to press the button to authorise the payment no PIN just an DoItNow button. that should get rid of most of the drive by payments made in error..

    2) Cash Back Top Up

    All machines and merchants that offer cashback should be allowed to cash back via a PIN to the digiPurse card. The same goes for hole in the wall machines.. What's the point of having a replacement for cash if you can't access top supplies of digi cash in the same way..

  16. Gareth79

    I have a bPay band, it works fine and it's a neat idea with a few flaws at present:

    - All your purchases are batched under a single top-up on your bank account, you need to review the bPay account to see what was bought

    - The card is quite small (a bit larger than a mini-SIM) but it's inserted into a thick pocket in the wristband and the overall 'bulge' is HUGE and uncomfortable.

    - Because it's "one size" the wristband is fastened by pressing a very flimsy plastic clip into holes, this takes AGES and doesn't seem safe at all. It's far too thick to stretch over your hand and I'm sure the clip would break very quickly.

    - You can't go out with just the wristband because obviously not everybody accepts contactless, and it can fail.

  17. Dale 3

    Card clash

    To avoid card clash, you'd better make sure you don't wear it on the same arm as the Oyster/contactless card that you decided to use at the tube gate instead, or you may be charged twice/on the wrong card.

    If you wear it on your left arm to avoid the above, make sure you don't accidentally go too close to the card reader of the tube gate to the left of the one you are going through, or you might end up paying for the chap next to you too.

  18. Chris G Silver badge

    Cashless Underground

    So the next time I travel to London as an ex-pat, I will be unable to travel because my cash won't buy me a ticket? (Or for the thousands of tourists?)

    For a journey in and one out to the airport what do I have to do open an account with the devil itself Barclays?

    One of the worst banks I have ever had an account with and as far as I am aware still going down the drain.

    1. Andy Gates

      Re: Cashless Underground

      It's not a cashless underground ... it's just a payment vendor trying to get you to use their product. Competing products will come, and the ticket machines will continue to take regular payment.

      No Barclays bank account needed (that would reduce customer potential), just feed the account the way you'd feed any other PAYG. The Pride ones are available (and in black as well as pink, if you're funny about such things).

      So, clip the chip out and attach to your fairy wand. :)

  19. Fluffy Bunny

    Significant timing

    Is it just me, or have other people noticed the significant timing to this? Nothing special, except you can now put your credit card on your wrist. But Apple brings out their proprietary contactless payment system and now...

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