Why Barclays Just Launched Its BPay Devices and Said No to Apple Pay

After Apple announced that Apple Pay is entering UK in July, most major financial institutions in the UK supported Apple Pay, but there was one major bank missing from the list: Barclays.

Barclaycard—the leading credit card issuer in the UK—is launching a new bPay-branded wristband, key fob and sticker. Anyone having a Visa or MasterCard-registered debit or credit card can use it to make contactless payments by attaching the sticker to the phone or attaching the fob to one’s keys. Barclays is the only major bank sitting out Apple Pay (to be launched in July in UK) and instead launching its new offering. Being a large bank and having its own payment systems, Barclays did not agree to the terms and conditions of Apple Pay, especially giving out a transaction cut to Apple.

The three new devices will go on sale on July 1. The bPay wearable payments gadget will be available for sale on a website set up by Barclaycard. Customers can purchase the wristband for £25, the key fob for £20 and the sticker for £15. A smartphone can be turned into a digital wallet by simply attaching the sticker to the back of the phone.

Any of the devices can be pre-loaded with up to £20 in cash. The amount can be used for contactless payments and to pay for rides within the London transportation network.

Here is a video which illustrate how bPay works:

Barclaycard will charge an interchange fee for each payment transaction made. However, in an article by Forbes, Barclaycard spokesman Tom Foxton said, The majority of income will be from the sale of products, at least in the early stages.

Apart from Apple Pay and Barclaycard, a number of companies have tried their hand at wristband devices because of the increase in interest in this technology. Jawbone collaborated with American Express to launch a fitness band that can be used to for contactless payments.

UK is becoming one of the emergent countries to support contactless payments. According to the UK Cards Association, the number of contactless payments more than tripled in 2014 with the UK public spending £2.32 billion.

Some people also raised concerns around the security of these devices. Barclays spokesperson said All our bPay devices can be immediately blocked if it is lost or stolen, either online or via the app. Protection for all the devices is exactly the same as for a contactless credit or debit card; they are no less secure. Some people believe that in the future Apple Pay (and other OS payment systems) and Barclays might find a way to work together.