The future... or not.
Today, I paid for a sandwich with my Barclaycard Paytag or Contactless Payments as it's generally known.
For those not in the know, this is the NFC 'credit card attached' enabled tag which allows purchases of up to £20 with a single swipe of the card. It's designed to forego the necessity of chip-and-pin in our fast paced busy lives. This is designed to be stuck to the back of a mobile phone.
Great! I hear you cry, however this got me thinking.
1. There is literally no security. The self-checkout presented the bill to me and I swiped my card. Quick £10 gone. There wasn't any kind of security check on the phone of any kind. If I knew your tag was attached to your phone in your pocket, could I, with a terminal presenting a 'bill' casually rub up against you in a busy shopping area and it takes £20?
2. People lose, or have their phone stolen more often than they do their wallets or purses. Your phone is always on show and not secure. Coupled with this, if you look at the featured image, it's not exactly subtle is it? I mean, you've effectively got a smaller bendier credit card sellotaped to the back of your phone, totally in contrast to the phone itself. You wouldn't walk around with your credit card in your hand all day so why is this any better?
3. Every time you upgrade your phone (and I do this a lot), it would require a new Paytag. If I somehow manage to rip this thing off it's not going to be in any state to stick to another phone.
Ways this can be improved...
1. Most modern phones (cough, not iphone yet) have NFC built in. Use an app to control it so we can have some kind of security. e.g. bill presented, swipe card, phone prompts 'do you want to pay £x to Widgets Ltd' and you click OK. Naturally, the app would ensure that you have SOME kind of protection on the phone itself... pin number, face recognition, pattern etc.
2. More of a general bugbear this than specifically paytag related. EMAIL ME MY RECEIPT rather than throwing some paper at me. It's 2013!
As things go, it's not going to work. It needs to be more secure, less obvious and garish. It's being touted for phones however it does not require a phone. I may aswell have sellotaped it to the back of my hand.