By Tami Hargreaves, director of digital consumer payments at Barclaycard
Contactless payments have experienced exponential growth in the past few years. According to Barclaycard’s latest Contactless Spending Index, overall spending on ‘touch and go’ transactions has more than doubled in the last 12 months, rising by 123% (comparing May 2015 to April 2016).
Mobile payments in particular are increasing in popularity. This is due to both retailers investing in infrastructure to accept them, and a host of new technology enabling consumers to make them.
For example, earlier this year, Barclaycard became the first UK financial services firm to offer a payment platform on Android, called Barclaycard Contactless Mobile. This new proposition enables customers to make a payment through the existing mobile servicing app quickly and securely, simply by tapping their phone at a payment terminal. Once enabled, there is no need to open the app, authenticate the transaction, or even have data connectivity.
Consumers and security
When it comes to contactless payments, consumers consistently cite security as one of the main barriers to adoption. There is a further challenge on mobiles, which often come with a host of connectivity and authentication processes in their own right, when trying to layer on a payment experience that is as frictionless as possible, without compromising security.
To solve for this when rolling out Contactless Mobile, we designed four unique features. These aim to balance simplicity of use with providing consumers plenty of options to dial up or down their security.
Activation: Because Contactless Mobile is built into the existing Barclaycard app, customers can activate their account and be ready to pay in less than 30 seconds, all in a familiar, secure environment. This integration also reduces the risk of customer information being compromised, as users do not need to enter any personal or card details onto their device during activation; the app automatically displays all the eligible accounts they have with us once they have logged in.
Transaction verification: To ensure the payment experience is the fastest, easiest and most convenient on the market, customers making a Contactless Mobile payment simply tap their device on a reader – exactly as they would if paying with a contactless card. To maintain a high level of security, however, we’ve created sophisticated transaction counters and thresholds to manage risk and fraud. These have been built to balance security and convenience, based on years of customer behaviour data to reach the optimum level of fraud prevention and detection.
PIN options: Contactless Mobile allows customers to pay for transactions of up to £100 using their Android device. To do this, they will be asked for the same PIN they use on their physical card to authorise the transaction. There is also the option to be prompted for a PIN for each transaction, helpful for those who want an enhanced level of security. Customers can turn the feature on and off with the flick of a switch to easily customise their security options.
Lost and stolen cards: Contactless Mobile offers an industry-first ‘instant card replacement’ feature. After cardholders report their card lost or stolen in the app, they will immediately be provisioned a new virtual card and, after logging in to verify their identity, can use it straight away. This minimises both the opportunities for fraudsters to spend on the old card and the inconvenience caused by having to wait for a replacement.
As mobile payments continue to rise in popularity, so too will consumers’ expectations for a payment experience that offers both convenience and security. With the next iterations of Contactless Mobile, we aim to provide more functionality, from adding multiple cardholders to enabling online payments, without adding more complexity or comprising security.
We’ll also look to explore other authentication options including passwords, patterns and fingerprints which, due to the fragmented nature of the Android market, and the fact that Contactless Mobile is already registered on over 300 different types of device, will require developing a secure solution that works across all devices.
Though it won’t be simple, moving with the times, and our customers, is a top priority and one we’re keen to master to provide a great customer experience, from start to finish.
Since introducing the UK’s first credit card in 1966, Barclaycard has continued to create innovative products for consumers and convenient payment systems for companies.