'Tap and go' payments to turn mobiles into 'digital wallets'

Caroline Cassidy

A new payment system that allows any mobile phone to make small purchases has been launched by Barclaycard today.

contactless payment system launched
contactless payment system launched

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With the use of a smart card or PayTag, stuck to the back of any handset, shoppers will now be able to make purchases of up to £15 with their mobiles, and it could mean small cash payments soon become a thing of the past.

The PayTag contains a microchip which is able to communicate directly with specially adapted till terminals, confirming the customer's credit card account and authorising payment without the need to enter a PIN number.

Where previously only the latest high-tech smartphones could be used for such payments, this new system means non-gadget geeks can also take advantage of contactless technology, and Barclaycard insist it comes with 100 per cent fraud protection.

David Chan, 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."

With all mobiles now capable of adapting to 'tap and go' tech and an ever-growing number of retailers introducing contactless systems, Waitrose, McDonald's and Tesco to name a few, industry experts predict it won't be long before shoppers can do without their wallet.

Carl Scheible, managing direct of PayPal UK, told the Daily Mail: "By 2016, you'll be able to leave your wallet at home and use your mobile as the 21st century digital wallet."

What do you think? Will you be leaving your cash at home and opting for contactless technology? Leave your comments below...