As Transport for London (TfL) edges further towards completely cashless transactions, Barclaycard has launched its bPay wristband for 10,000 Londoners, writes Patrick Brusnahan.
The new band allows Londoners to make contactless payments at over 300,000 terminals in the capital and across the entire London transport network ahead of its full-scale launch in 2015.
Any UK Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card can be liked to the wristband, giving access to contactless payments for the 50% of Londoners currently without.
The product is free with no usage fees for consumers. It is linked to a pre-paid account which can be topped up either automatically or when funds run low. Customers can also check their account and transactions through their mobile, tablet or smartphone.
A main convenience of the wristband is it avoiding ‘card clash’ by taking away the possibility of multiple contactless cards being read in a purse or wallet.
This follows Barclaycard’s previous forays into contactless payments. Most recently, it launched PayTag, a sticker which can turn any mobile phone into a contactless payment device.
In the year ending 30 June 2014, the amount spent using contactless had tripled to £5m ($8m) a day and the number of transactions made each month is growing 20%. Barclaycard expects the introduction of contactless payments by TfL to push the expenditure to £2bn this year.
Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless at Barclaycard, said: "Every second counts to Londoners on the morning commute and having to rummage around for your wallet, hunt down your purse from the depths of your bag, or encountering the dreaded red light at the ticket barrier can feel like it’s adding ages to the day. With bPay band you just hold your wrist to the card reader to pay for your travel, you can then also use it to pay for your coffee on the way into the office, and lunchtime sandwich."