/ Technology

Will ‘tap and pay’ mobile phones take off?

Barclays Tap and Pay mobile

Orange and Barclays have teamed up to produce the first mobile phone you can ‘tap and pay’ with on payments under £15. Convenient, yes. But will it be safe – and more importantly, will it take off?

Barclays has launched a mobile payment service that could spell the end of cash, or at least that’s the plan.

I hate small change. I seem to go through trousers and jeans at an appalling rate as insignificant coins saw through my pockets.

And on quiet nights walking around a dodgy area of town, rattling away like Marley’s ghost doesn’t fill me with confidence.

So I quite like the idea of a mobile phone that I can make payments of up to £15 on. And it will save me money, because I invariably wave away small change, which probably adds up to a small fortune over the course of a year.

Convenience vs security

The new phone, Samsung Tocco Quick Tap, can be used in a variety of outlets, including Pret A Manger, EAT and Subway, making it a convenient way to pay for lunch. But convenience is only one factor here, security is another.

When Nick Cheek started a Conversation ‘Is paying with your mobile a step too far?’, security was one issue that cropped up. ‘Personally, I would think there would be security issues using a mobile phone for banking? I wouldn’t even use my mobile to log on to check account balances,’ said Danny.

Some people will probably conclude that it’s far from ideal – if your phone gets stolen or lost someone could raid your local sandwich shop for all it’s worth (well, up to £15 a go).

This would be terrible, but as with any electronic payment, your provider will be on the lookout for any suspect patterns of use. So if your phone is used to buy £10 worth of lunch at every retailer along the high street within a short time frame, it will block your account.

Will people want to tap and pay?

But in my mind, security is not the real problem here; I suspect that the big issue will be whether enough people buy into the concept of mobile payments.

People are creatures of habit, and the fact that this technology is only available at a handful of retailers may stop it becoming second nature. After all, most Barclays debit or credit card already have contactless technology built into them, but how many card holders remember to use them when they are at Pret?

Until this technology is available everywhere, take up is likely to be stunted. If Barclays and Orange can’t crack this nut, and make it as widespread as the Oyster card system, it’s likely to be overlooked by all bar a small army of technophiles. And that will be bad news for Barclays, Orange and anyone who’s pockets are filled with copper coins.

Would you use your mobile to 'tap and pay'?

No (54%, 232 Votes)

Yes (30%, 130 Votes)

Not sure (16%, 68 Votes)

Total Voters: 430

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Comments
Member

How many of you lot, know of at least one person who has lost or broken or had their mobile stolen? And who has seen the watchdog episode where someone over the road ( not even in the same shop) was able to tap into the wireless payment system when someone else used a card in one of those wireless hand held devices.

I for one have zero faith that banks will be able to handle security correctly. Just look at the mess they made of the financial markets. So it just an huge accident waiting to happen.

Member

This is not for me – I don’t trust wireless connections at home – so I certainly won’t use it for shopping. But there will be people who will and then complain it is unsafe. I agree with William

Member

Curious that so many have voted for but have not commented.

Disaster waiting to happen. NFC is being pushed because companies see profit. It is not an exercise to save Dan Moore’s pockets from loose change damage.

If companies see profit they will downsize the risks and talk up the benefits. I doubt that the system will ever be secure. Interestingly it was launched in Japan about 7 years ago and with much heavy investment has about 10% usage. Perhaps Which? could research why it is not a success in Japan – or what problems exist – so us readers have a fuller picture.

Member
Steve H says:
25 May 2011

All businesses fulfil needs of society. They have to do this otherwise they would sell nothing. in doing so, they have to make a profit (otherwise why bother) so yes, there is a profit motive, but the primary need they are seeking to satisfy is society’s. It is an exercise to save Dan’s pockets and everyone else’s irritations with cash.
Security issues can be fixed – eg it would cost little to use fingerprint readers too.
but my view is that all this is too clunky – I want something quick (and secure) so why not use my fingerprint alone or the Oyster card? Mobile phones get changed every couple of years in our house (for various reasons, wear and tear being most common) and I would not want to have to transfer these cash payment facilities over to the next one.

Member
Mikhail says:
22 May 2011

Nice idea, good concept, wrong country.

Member

I think there’s a lot of truth in this comment. Britain has a well-established high street banking culture and the shift will take time.
Austria, I’ve heard, is leading the charge with mobile commerce. Of the 8.5 million inhabitants, more than 4 million of them use their mobiles to bank and make payments. Mobile banking is the default option when opening an account, and car parks are geared up to take payments – you just text how long you want to park your car for to a certain number.
I don’t see any real security issues and think there are many benefits – both to business and consumers. Once Oyster payments can be made through mobile phones we’ll feel much more secure about this form of payment, and then perhaps start to see it taking off. Google is behind it so we can expect a big push.

Member

Not popular is it? I just think that it’s the future and will offer people a chance to control their expenditure, and budget. Who knows?

Member

How can it be different to using a credit card – and using the statement to budget? Though I budget before I spend.