Barclays Bank has announced the introduction of contactless mobile payments through its app, which will complement its bPay services, launched back in June as a rival to similar payment services from Google, Apple and Samsung. According to the press release from the British bank, the service will allow any account holder with the bank, to make financial transactions through its Android mobile app, making use of the NFC (Near Field Communication) chip in their smartphones. While transactions of up to £30 can be easily made with a simple tap on the screen without the need for any verification, customers may choose to turn on PIN protection anyways, should they so desire. Payments of over £30 however, will mandatorily require customers to enter their PIN, for extra security. With or without PIN however, payments through the app will be restricted to a maximum of £100. Customers will be able to make use of the facility at over 300,000 merchant locations within the UK as well as across the London transport network from this November.
The company also announced that its customers will be able to get their credit or debit cards replaced virtually through the app by way of a process known as HCE, or Host Card Emulation. The way it will work at the customer's end, is pretty simple. Should someone misplace their card one way or another, all they'll need to do is inform the company's call center through the app itself, upon which, a virtual replacement card will be issued, which can then be accessed and used through the app instantaneously, according to the company. Barclaycard is claiming this to be an 'UK-market first', and believes that the rolling out of these new features will prove beneficial to a large number of its customers, seeing as over 40 percent of the country's smartphone users have an embedded NFC chip in their smartphones. By 2019, as many as 85 percent of smartphone users in the UK are expected to use NFC-enabled handsets.
Speaking about the introduction of the new features to the Barclaycard app, the company's Managing Director of Digital Consumer Payments, said, "Barclaycard has a strong history of innovation and we're constantly looking for new ways to revolutionize payments. These new features transform Android phones into a mobile hub for our customers allowing them to manage their account on the go. This additional functionality is being added to our existing customer app so there's no need for existing users to download, register, upload, or add card details into a new app; you just complete the simple opt-in process and away you go. It's the latest in our range of 'Pay your Way' options that allows customers to make payments quickly, easily and conveniently, and makes the Barclaycard app the best in its class".