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Here’s a high-tech way to find out if your new designer bag is genuine or a fake

You’ve bought a swish new handbag, but there’s a niggling doubt in the back of your mind: Is it the real thing, or a very convincing fake? Finding out has suddenly become a lot more high-tech and convenient, after luxury handbag makers Maria&Donato decided to integrate special NFC tags into their bags, that provide confirmation of authenticity.

Maria&Donato has worked with a technology company called Thin Film on the project, using its SpeedTap NFC tag. Made of very thin, completely flexible material, the tags become part of the bag’s label, and can be read using an NFC-equipped smartphone or dedicated reader. NFC tags are simple to use, and only need a tap to communicate with your phone, so there’s no need to start squinting at long serial numbers on a label inside a dark bag, ready to type into a website.

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Once brought to life, the SpeedTap tag will send an authentication message to your phone, along with special content from Maria&Donato. All luxury brands suffer at the hands of counterfeiters, but it’s a particular worry for Maria&Donato, as all its products are limited to 999 items, never to be reproduced. The exclusivity, and value, of the bags comes from knowing it’s genuine — something the NFC tag will easily and quickly prove.

It’s something the company has been concerned about for a while, and last year started fitting microchips to its products to deter fakes, but these required special readers to decipher; an NFC tag is a more customer-friendly option, because all that’s needed is a smartphone and the company’s dedicated app. Well, provided you don’t own an iPhone, that is, as it doesn’t have NFC-reading capabilities. Apple phone owners will have to make do with using the serial number to authenticate their bag.