back to article Barclaycard axes bonking payments bracelet

Barclaycard will be switching off the service for the bPay mobile payments bracelet on May 31st. The company claims that there will be a replacement in June and, while it can’t say what that will be, it is willing to share the expectation that it will be really, really good. The bank told us: "To do this we need to make some …

  1. Joey M0usepad Silver badge
    WTF?

    whats so good about bonking?

    Can someone explain to me the benefit of Contactless Payment?

    It seems to me the only thing physically different is that your card is read by RFID ( or similar ) rather than putting your card into a reader to read the details.

    To me - the time saved by waving your card AT a machine over putting your card IN a machine is absolutely neglible. The delay comes when you have to stare at the card reader saying things like "please wait" or "checking pin".

    So it seems to me that the only time savings that have been made is that with the new lardy dah contactless system all security has been thrown out of the window in the interests of speed: no checking that account even exists ,and no checking the pin, hence the £20 limit. no wonder its faster.

    couldnt they just do that for the swipe system too? stop bothering to check on prices under £30?

    At least then you wouldnt be at risk of NFC pirates running around waving phantom paypoints at peoples pockets.

    1. Downside

      Re: whats so good about bonking?

      You clearly have never waited an age in the pub to pay for a couple of pints by pin pad, or in a football stadium at half time where the world+dog tries to get two cups of coffee and a super-heated pie.

      Waving a card is so much easier and quicker. If I was worried about security, I'd get the folding out. Sure, you can't buy a sofa by bonk, but for tiddly transactions, it's ace.

      (A friend suggests that it makes it much easier to buy a (small) round if your visually challenged too, or having "finger trouble" at the end of an evening)

      I love my contact-less cards. Great idea.

    2. JP19

      Re: whats so good about bonking?

      "couldnt they just do that for the swipe system too"

      Yes or for the chip system. When you have to take your card out of your wallet anyway because two or more cards interfere with each other and you can't choose which you would like to use the time taken to swipe it through a stripe reader or poke it into a slot for a fraction of a second is trivial.

      Personally I refuse to carry an RFID tag

      http://www.leaderproducts.com.au/images/256.jpg

      so always on bonking is simply not an option.

    3. SolidSquid

      Re: whats so good about bonking?

      It doesn't actually check the pin when you use the contactless payment, so there's no wait for it to check the pin

    4. Gerry 3
      FAIL

      Re: whats so good about bonking?

      Governments like contactless because they can track your location and your spending. It's the first step to banning cash. Then they can control your whole life even more: if they don't like you, they can ration or stop ALL your spending. Bit like a ball and chain really.

      Banksters like contactless. Unlike cash, they get a cut from all purchases. That's why many are arrogantly refusing to issue non-contactless cards.

      Thieves like contactless. Unlike cash, it's re-usable several times: will this magic card be worth £30, £90, £90, £120, £150... ? It's the theft that keeps on giving !

  2. Steve James 1

    I've had my band since they launched and it's great on the buses and tubes. It's just as quick as using an Oyster and it saves time fishing an Oyster out of my wallet. It's also been useful for the odd sandwich or coffee. The cards were always designed to expire at end of May, so it's not exactly being switched off. An email from them last week said they were introducing a new slimmer version of the band and gave me the opportunity to pre-order the colour I wanted.

    Meanwhile once the card expires in a few weeks, I'll just use my Barclaycard Paytag card in the band instead and will use that until the newer version is released. You really can't beat the band for convenience.

    1. JP19

      "great on the buses and tubes"

      For people who can't afford cars then?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "great on the buses and tubes"

        "For people who can't afford cars then?"

        Jeremy? Is that you?

      2. Lamont Cranston

        Re: "For people who can't afford cars then?"

        Buying a car is easy, finding somewhere to park it is the problem.

    2. Kirk Northrop

      Indeed - the reason that it ends at the end of May and can't run longer is because the "cards" have an expiry date of May 2015.

  3. Lee D Silver badge

    I'm far from paranoid, but I'm also never on the cutting edge (for several reasons).

    Contactless isn't yet in the stage where it's viable to attack en-masse. Let it gain ground, let your frauds sink into the background of millions of exchanges a day, and then you can start playing with radios and authorising payments in the user's absence.

    I'm just not convinced of contactless at all. Why not even just "contact". I have to tap the Oyster against the thing anyway, there are a plethora of 1-wire protocols you could use and then you don't have the "broadcasting radio messages on known frequencies" problems that you do with contactless. It's no quicker to get within a few cm's than it is to actually touch something. And at least if someone's tapping it, you stand a chance of detecting it with just your eyes or even electrically.

    I have, however, sold (not directly, but got them to buy) many RFID-blocking sleeves to friends and relatives without even trying. I had a set. My friends/family saw them, asked what they were, bought their own - or an RFID blocking wallet.

    All the current card technologies (Chip & PIN, magstripe, contactless) seem to be insecure, as far as I can tell. The only exception is where you're posted a secure pin-pad thing to authorise large transactions or direct debits - because those MATTER to the banks. You / the retailer getting stung for £20 isn't even on their radar, so they don't care.

    Chip & PIN, especially, drives me mad. You have to enter your PIN into random box handed to you with different manufacturer and no verification of what it is, plug a number in, and that can be magically transported through the airwaves to verify at your bank. There are SO many holes there that you can drive a train sideways through them. Not least, I have no idea if I'm being MITM'd and the actual Chip & PIN machine is behind the bar and some guys is just recording PINs from his modified keypad, pretends it authorised, and then later uses them to perform the "real" transaction, plus the occasional fake one.

    Sorry, I just don't trust it. Oyster itself went through several versions of insecure cards before it got sensible and yet the "insecure" ones are still just as valid for payment. Give it a decade or so, and I'll have a look again.

    1. kevjs

      And with chip and sign the identification signature is on the card you hand over and which is promptly ignored by the cashier....

  4. fordie

    Interested to see what they do next…

    I ordered a bPay as the idea of bonking for a coffee or tube ride was pretty appealing. However, the girth of the band really put me off & I never used it.

    I don't have dinky wrists, but boy that thing is huge! The mini card embedded in it made it pretty inflexible. If they bring out a smaller one then I'll give it a whirl.

    That said, as a fanboi I'm hoping Uncle Timmy sorts out Apple Pay in the UK soon, then I can bonk with my phone or watch.

  5. fordie

    Interested to see what they do next

    I ordered a bPay as the idea of bonking for a coffee or tube ride was pretty appealing. However, the girth of the band really put me off & I never used it.

    I don't have dinky wrists, but boy that thing is huge! The mini card embedded in it made it pretty inflexible. If they bring out a smaller one then I'll give it a whirl.

    That said, as a fanboi I'm hoping Uncle Timmy sorts out Apple Pay in the UK soon, then I can bonk with my phone or watch.

  6. Czrly

    I am still feeding a month-old piece of orange paper through every railway turnstile. Honestly, I'd settle for the ability to link my season-ticket to Surrey to my Oyster card. That would be enough and ALL that tech. is already in the stations. Once that's sorted, we can talk about new-fangled bonk-strap-ons.

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