EDITORIAL: Is Barclaycard the real winner in the mobile payment race?

Barclaycard Mobile appThis editorial was first released on Monday 25th January. Contactless Intelligence Weekly News Review Editorial – Week 04, 2016:

Last week’s mobile-payment news was dominated by Barclaycard and the upgrade to their Barclaycard app (Android only, though) as well as their newly released contactless spend numbers that show a trebling of contactless spend in 2015 – mostly attributed to the rise in the maximum spend on contactless cards to £30 in September.

Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all credit and debit card sales in the UK, said contactless spend by value increased 164% last year, while the volume of transactions was up 135%. The average contactless transaction value rose 26% to £8.65 following the increase in the limit. Barclaycard reported that more than a quarter of its active customers use contactless every month. Usage of the Barclaycard contactless card is highest in London: 41% of all transactions of up to £20 are made with contactless. This was followed by Cambridge, at 26%, and Northampton, at 24%. The findings come as The UK Cards Association reveals that contactless payments hit a record £1.02bn in a single month for the first time in November 2015.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director of digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, said, “Every second counts for today’s busy shopper and, as our data shows, ‘touch and go’ payments are now the norm for an increasing number of everyday purchases. Whether it’s grabbing a coffee on the way to work – or stocking up on groceries on the way home – the speed and ease of contactless means it’s now the preferred way to pay for shoppers across the country. As the old adage goes, ‘time is money’, and we expect contactless payments to continue to break new records throughout 2016.”

Besides being able to pay for transactions of up to £30 using contactless, customers with Barclaycard’s Android Contactless Mobile can enter their PIN into the app and pay for transactions of up to £100. “With cards increasingly being used to pay for everything from the morning coffee to an evening meal, going about your life while your card is somewhere else can lead to potentially awkward situations,” says Hargreaves. “With contactless spending now over a billion pounds a month, we may even be witnessing the beginning of the end for the bar tab as we currently know it.”

Talking about bars, according to research from Barclaycard, a predicted 2.5 million British revellers will have left their cards at bars and restaurants during the festive season, with many ending up in embarrassing situations when they found they were without means to pay. Almost a 6th of 21-55 year-olds questioned (12% of women and 20 per cent of men) reported that they have forgotten their credit or debit card behind the bar, having left it there when opening a tab. Nearly half (46%) of those only realised later that day when going to pay for something else, with a further quarter (29%) discovering their mistake the following day.

And the research results continue; A quarter (24%) – rising to almost a third of men – admitted to waking up a spouse or housemate to pay for their taxi fare when they got home. 1 in 4 men was forced to abandon a purchase at the till upon realising they were unable to pay. Others may have annoyed the boss, with 18% admitting they arrived late for work after scrambling to find loose change to pay for transport.
Most importantly, though, is this; users lost their bank card permanently at least once during 2015 – accounting for almost 4.6 million  cards. Fortunately, for those truly unrecoverable cards, Barclaycard is now offering an industry-first ‘instant card replacement’ function as part of a revamp of its app and this is where Barclaycard really moves ahead of the pack.

Barclaycard will be the first in the UK to introduce ‘virtual card replacement’ for Android users, allowing customers to download a contactless version to their phone instantly. The service is part of the upgrade to the Barclaycard app. The service enables customers with a Visa card to have it immediately replaced onto their mobile phone if it is lost or stolen by simply calling the contact centre for free from the Barclaycard app. The virtual replacement card will be instantly downloaded and available for immediate use for contactless payments; a physical card replacement will then follow in the post.

“It’s amazing that nearly three weeks after Christmas, half a million Brits are still retrieving forgotten cards from their favourite bars and restaurants. With cards increasingly being used to pay for everything from the morning coffee to an evening meal, going about your life while your card is somewhere else can lead to potentially awkward situations,” added Hargreaves.  “It’s even harder when your card is lost or stolen. Barclaycard’s new Android Contactless Mobile feature is the first in the market that allows you to immediately download a new card to your mobile, and use it to make contactless payments. Customers are also able to pay with contactless for transactions of up to £100. With contactless spending now over a billion pounds a month, we may even be witnessing the beginning of the end for the bar tab as we currently know it.”

I like the sound of that!

Steve Atkins
Contactless Intelligence

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Categories: Contactless Payments, Editorial, Mobile Payments

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