The mobile payments industry is growing rapidly, with technology giants including the likes of Google, Samsung and Apple driving innovation, as well as several smaller companies that are slipping under the radar.
A recent survey by nVest Ventures quizzed 5000 UK citizens about their views on mobile payments and found that interest in cashless transactions is rising, especially with millennials. 26 per cent of respondents aged 16 to 24 said paying with cash was inconvenient and 41 per cent said they have used or are interested in using mobile payment services.
But it’s not just technology companies getting in on the action. Barclaycard has launched bPay, its own contactless payments system to take on the tech titans.
What is bPay?
bPay is a digital payments service that aims to increase the speed of transactions and offer convenience for users.
It comes with a choice of three devices which Barclaycard has recently updated: A fob (£19.99), a wristband (£24.99) and a sticker (£14.99) which sticks to the back of your smartphone. There is also a mobile app which tracks your spending habits and enables you to top up your devices or update your account settings wherever you are.
bPay can be used in a range of the UK’s biggest restaurants and cafes (including McDonalds, Starbucks and Eat), supermarkets (such as Waitrose and The Cooperative) and high-street shops (including Boots and WHSmith).
How does it compare?
In our mobile payment comparison of Barclaycard bPay against its main technology rivals, there were some distinct differences that emerged. For example, the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are limited to certain devices, whereas bPay works on both Android and iOS, although you do first need to purchase either the sticker, fob or wristband.
bPay is also the only service that can be topped up using any bank card through the mobile app, whereas the other options simply link straight to the users’ credit or debit card. bPay is open anyone with a UK-registered Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, they don't need to be a Barclays or Barclaycard customer.
Do what does bPay mean for businesses? Retailers are faced with a number of competing payment technologies at the moment. While in the long term one or two are likely to emerge as leaders and others fall by the wayside. In the meantime businesses will find themselves needing to work with several different payment systems.
While solutions from the technology companies are likely to be dominant on a global scale, the attraction of bPay is that it's backed by one of the UK's major banks. Add to that its platform and bank independence and it's understandable that businesses are keen to adopt it.