Barclaycard’s bPay Loop brings contactless payments to wearables

Barclaycard has launched the bPay Loop, a discreet chip holder that can instantly turn thousands of watches, smartwatches, and fitness bands into contactless payment devices.

The bPay Loop is the fourth product in the bPay range from Barclaycard, each of which allows for contactless payments. The other three are the bPay wristband, the bPay keyring fob, and the bPay sticker.

The Loop comes in response to customer demand for a way to add payment functionality to wearables they already own. It’s the first product widely available in the UK to offer consumers the opportunity to add payment capability to their existing devices.

The band has been designed to easily slide on to watches and fitness trackers. It’s made from durable, textured silicon, and is available to anyone with a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, not just Barclaycard or Barclays customers.

Just as with Barclaycard’s other contactless payment devices, customers can add funds to a digital wallet that is linked to the device. The device can then be used to pay for transactions of £30 and under. Contactless payments can currently be made at over 400,000 locations across the UK, with the number steadily rising as public perception grows more positive.

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While contactless payments have always appealed to those looking to make quick and easy transactions, the Loop promises an extra level of convenience. Commuters, shoppers, and especially sports and fitness fans, could now leave cards, wallets, and cash at home without losing the ability to purchase on the go.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director of digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, said “bPay is the UK’s leading range of wearable payment products and was designed to meet customer demand for a new way of paying. Following the success of the initial range, and in response to consumer demand, Loop has been designed to allow payments functionality to be added to items that people already wear on their wrist.”

“Thanks to the huge growth we are seeing in contactless payments, we are increasingly becoming accustomed to being able to make low-value payments throughout the day, in a quick, easy, convenient way. Loop makes that easier than ever.”

Security will remain a concern for the bPay Loop

All payments come with the same fraud protection that is applied to contactless cards. If lost or stolen, users can remotely shut down their device via the app, online, or by contacting the bPay team.

However, Gerry Carr, commercial director at UK-based fraud specialists Ravelin, highlights the risks still present. “A fraudster will look for any route to funnel stolen card details,” he said. “This mostly happens for online purchases, but if they can add stolen details to a bPay Loop then they will (and looking at the signup process it seems they can). Barclaycard needs to ensure they use the latest techniques, such as machine learning, to avoid this happening. Eroding trust in contactless payments is a high price for convenience.”

Barclaycard’s bPay has joined forces with Swiss watch manufacturer Mondaine and GPS wearable giant Garmin, to offer Loop to those purchasing selected items from both brands from July.

The bPay Loop costs £19.99 and goes on sale online on the bPay e-store from today Both the wallet and devices are free to use, with no transaction, usage or top-up fees for consumers, including when used abroad.