Any mobile phone can be turned into a ‘tap and go’ credit card under a payment system unveiled today.
Advocates of the technology argue it could mean the end of small cash payments within five to ten years.
The system, which can be used to make purchases up to £15, involves sticking a smart card or PayTag – about a third of the size of a normal credit card – to the back of a handset.
To make a payment, the phone is tapped on a specially adapted till. The tag, which contains a microchip, communicates with the till terminal via an antenna to confirm the credit card account of the customer and authorise a payment without the need to enter a PIN.
The system is being launched by Barclaycard, which says it comes with 100 per cent fraud protection, but it is likely to be adopted by other major banks. Previously, only a few hi-tech handsets could be used for tap and go payments, but the new tag means any phone could be.
An increasing number of retailers offer or are introducing tap and go tills, including Waitrose, McDonald’s, Boots and Tesco. By the end of this year, London buses will also accept these so-called contactless payments.
David Chan, the chief executive of Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said: ‘More than half of us say that the item we’re most lost without is our mobile phone, so we’re giving people the option of using them to make easy, convenient, everyday payments.’
Carl Scheible, the managing director of PayPal UK, said: ‘By 2016, you’ll be able to leave your wallet at home and use your mobile as the 21st century digital wallet.’