bPay’s contactless payment wristband takes on Apple Pay in the UK

BPAY Band Black
Barclays Bank will be one of the few major banks in the UK that won’t adopt Apple Pay when it launches in July. However, it doesn’t want to be left out of the contactless payment fun, and in an effort to keep all the transaction profits for itself, it has announced the bPay contactless payment system with Barclaycard.

It’s an odd mix of PayPal, mobile payments, and wearable tech. Using bPay’s digital wallet, to which you add funds from your regular bank account, one of the three payment options can be used instead of cash or a card in stores — a wristband, a sticker, or a key fob. Say you’re wearing the wristband. All it takes is a gentle wave in the general direction of a contactless payment terminal, and you can walk out with your purchase, no cash or card needed.

The sticker can be attached to your phone to replicate that Apple Pay (or Android Pay, eventually) experience. Like Apple Pay, and other contactless payments using a card in the UK, purchases will have a limit of £20, and the first retail outlets selling the bPay products will be those aimed at sporty types. A wristband or key fob is much easier to carry around than loose change when out running.

Yes, we said sell the products. You’ll need to hand over £15 for the sticker, £20 for the key fob, and £25 for the wristband. Once you’ve paid up for your gadget of choice, it’s free to top-up the bPay account, and there are no service fees. An app can be used to manage accounts on the move. Contactless payment terminals for use with debit cards are already widespread in the UK — including on London’s transport system, and in stores such as Starbucks, Boots, and WH Smith — and each should operate with the bPay system too, making it instantly usable by those who adopt it.

The bPay devices will be available from July 1, and the service is available to anyone with a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card, regardless of whether they bank with Barclays.

Product Review

Withings Steel HR Sport is a fitness tracker you’ll love wearing

Withings jumps back in the wearables game with the new Steel HR Sport, a hybrid smartwatch that is as much a fitness tracker as it is a timepiece. It's so good that it hasn't left our wrist since we pulled it out of the package.
Cars

Forget transponders with Peasy’s nationwide pay-as-you-go toll service

Verra Mobility launched Peasy, a consumer highway and bridge toll payment service. Designed to be less hassle than managing traditional transponder or toll tag accounts, Peasy pays tolls as they are levied across most of the U.S.
Deals

The best accounting software for your small business

Small business owners looking for accounting software have a variety of options at their disposal. And this guide will help them find the best solutions, from Quickbooks Online and Freshbooks to AccountEdge and Zoho Books.
Computing

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.
Mobile

PayPal will soon let you withdraw cash at Walmart, but there’s a catch

PayPal has teamed up with Walmart to allow its account holders to withdraw and deposit cash at the store. The service launches at all Walmart stores across the U.S. in early November, but there's a catch.
Outdoors

Garmin’s new Instinct GPS watch is built for the sportsman in all of us

The new Garmin Instinct is a GPS multisport watch for people who love to be outdoors. The $300 Instinct takes the best features of the company's popular Fenix watches and packages them into rugged, military-grade package.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…
Mobile

Montblanc’s $995 Summit 2 watch stays on your wrist for longer between charges

Montblanc has taken the wraps off of the new Montblanc Summit 2 -- the first watch to feature the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. The watch features a premium design and Google's Wear OS.
Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…
Mobile

Inferiority is a feature now! Palm's new plan is psychotic

The Palm is a smartphone to reduce your smartphone usage, or a small smartphone for when you don't want to carry your big smartphone. Palm itself doesn't seem sure which it is, but either way, it's a product that's so witless, we're amazed…