Skip to main content

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

BPAY Band Black
Image used with permission by copyright holder
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.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
PayPal vs. Google Pay vs. Venmo vs. Cash App vs. Apple Pay Cash

Money makes the world go 'round. Whether you owe a friend for drinks or you need to send rent money to your roommate, the easier it is to transfer money to friends and family, the better.

With modern technology, there are plenty of great options for sending money to others. Sure, PayPal may be the best-known of these services, but it's certainly not the only one. Google reorganized Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single service called Google Pay. Then there's Venmo, which has skyrocketed in popularity, and Cash App, built by payment company Square. Perhaps it was a little late to the game, but we can't forget about Apple Pay Cash.

Read more
U.K. to double Apple Pay and Google Pay contactless payment limit
magsafe wallet is actually good apple 1

The U.K. is set to double the existing contactless payment limit, taking it to 100 British pounds, or about $140, over the summer, the BBC reported on Wednesday. Contactless payment is widespread in the U.K., not just through physical credit and debit cards, but by using mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay too.

The previous limit was established as 45 pounds/$62 in 2020, a small rise from the prior 30/$42 pounds limit. Contactless payments have seen an increase in utility over the pandemic as cash has been downplayed due to fears of viral transmission. Contactless payments have also been adopted by new-style online, app-based banks such as Monzo, where payment can be made instantly from phones, even without having a corresponding physical card.

Read more
Contactless payments will roll out to more public transportation systems in 2020
new york subway tap to pay turnstile

Earlier this year, New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, launched a new fare payment system called OMNY, which essentially allows customers to use services like Google Pay and Apple Pay at turnstiles to pay for rides. It seems like that program has been a success, despite only being available at a few stations -- and Cubic, the company behind OMNY's tech, is now expanding it across the country.

The first new city to get the tech will be San Francisco, after which it'll make its way to Boston, and get a wider launch in New York City. Additional cities will be added too, but they have yet to be announced. In San Francisco, Cubic says that riders will be able to use Google Pay from the Cubic traveler app too -- which is presumably where they'll be able to choose the fares that they want to pay for.

Read more