Barclaycard bPay band brings contactless payments to your wrist

Move over Apple Pay: the bPay band is heading for trials in London this year
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A new wearable band from Barclaycard that could revolutionise the way we travel and shop is going on trial in London.

The bPay band is a the rubberised and waterproof black cuff that packs a chip and radio antenna to enable you scan your wrist to pay for everyday items.

Like current contactless cards, the bPay band will work for purchases under £20 and you don’t even have to bank with Barclays to take advantage of the nifty tech.

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The move follows this week’s introduction of contactless payment support for the whole London transportation network, from London Underground to the DLR. The bPay band can be used in the same way as a contactless or Oyster card, by just tapping your wrist on the iconic yellow reader. It will also work in any store that supports contactless payments.

Around 10,000 Londoners should get access to the fairly nondescript black band for a trial, though if all goes well there could be a wider release sometime in 2015.

Working in a similar way to Oyster, the popular contactless travelcard used by many Londoners every day, you’ll be able to top the band up online and even have it auto top-up when you’re about to run out of usable cash.

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“Just imagine a typical day in the near future. You leave the house, hop on the train and head to the gym. After your workout, you grab a coffee and go to the office. The money or information you need for every stage of that journey will be integrated into a single device like bPay band,” said a Barclaycard spokesperson.

“It’s a time that isn’t quite here yet, but it’s not far away. Innovations like bPay band are bringing it closer every day.”

Immediate comparisons will no doubt be drawn to Apple’s recently announced payment service, Apple Pay, which utilises NFC on Apple Watch.

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However, Barclaycard has managed to steal the limelight, as Apple Pay won’t cross the pond until 2015 at the earliest.

Barclaycard says the initial run of bands will be handed out free of charge and can be linked to any UK Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card, and you’ll also be able to keep a track of your transactions through a companion mobile app.


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Max Parker is an experienced technology journalist. He's the editor of Trusted Reviews, and has worked for Wareable, T3 and more.

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