Whether Barclays was in or out has perhaps been the UK's biggest mobile banking debate. Apple Pay launched and Barclays wasn't on the list. Android Pay was a long time coming, and Barclays wasn't on the list.
Barclays has now quietly enabled the contactless payment side of its Mobile Banking app, finally completing the circle and letting you pay for things with a wave of your phone.
How's how it works and how to get setup.
What is Barclays Contactless Mobile?
Barclays Contactless Mobile is the name that Barclays has given to mobile payments.
Unlike other platform-level solutions, like Android Pay and Apple Pay, Barclays is doing this through its own app, but essentially uses exactly the same contactless payment system that's already in place in the UK.
Barclays customers have had contactless payment cards for many years, so the system of touch to pay will be familiar, and you'll probably already be using it to pay for your Costa coffee, your lunchtime Boots meal deal or to ride on the Tube.
What do I need for Barclays Contactless Mobile?
There are two essential ingredients: you need an Android phone with NFC and you need the Barclays Mobile Banking app.
The good news is that this isn't restricted to a single manufacturer or network, so there are fewer hoops to jump through than in the past. But beware - some cheaper or older devices don't have NFC and there have been some phones, like the OnePlus 2, that left it out.
You'll also need some money in your accounts, of course, and somewhere that accepts contactless payments - a network that's rather extensive now, with 400,000 locations covered in the UK, according to Barclays.
Setting up Barclays Contactless Mobile payment
Setup is easy as long as you have the Barclays Mobile Banking app on your phone. If not, download it, register and verify yourself using your PINsentry and you'll be able to get it up and running.
To setup the mobile payments, you'll have to tap on the Contactless Mobile option in the left-hand menu.
This will guide you through the process, letting you choose the card you'd like to use when you tap to pay.
As part of the setup process, you'll also have to turn on NFC, if it isn't already on. The app will link you through to your device settings to make this happen.
When it's all setup, there's an icon in the top left-hand corner of your phone with a contactless payment logo. Swiping down the notifications pane will display the message that you can make mobile payments - this stays in place and you can't get rid of it.
What about other mobile payment systems?
Barclays Contactless Mobile only covers Barclays accounts and doesn't include Barclaycard, which is offered through its own separate app.
Likewise, if you have an account with a different bank and you've been using Android Pay, then you have a potential clash of payment systems.
This is perhaps the downside of Barclays going it alone, rather than having one app to cover all the mobile payments, which ultimately would be the aim of Android Pay.
Choosing the default payment system is handled within Android through the "Tap and pay" settings. In the settings menu you'll find the options, with a list of those payment apps you have installed. If you want Barclays to pay when you tap your phone, simply set it to default and you're good to go.
Paying with Barclays Contactless Mobile
When you want to pay for something, you simply present your phone to the contactless payment terminal, exactly as you would do when paying with a contactless-enabled card. You might have to move it a little to aid detection and knowing where the NFC chip is will help.
The payment limit is £30, as it is with cards, designed to make it easy to pay for small items with minimal fuss. If you don't want those payments up to £30 made without you having to enter your PIN, you can opt to turn that on.
If you want to pay for something over £30, the Barclays app will let you, but you'll have to enter your PIN at the time of purchase. You'll also have to find a retailer happy for you do so.
With most only expecting payments up to £30 with a card, there's plenty of potential for confusion and over the past few days of testing Barclays Contactless Mobile, we've had a few failures, which retailers have suggested could be because their payment systems need to know they can accept payment from Barclays via the app.
Once a payment is successful, however, you're presented with confirmation on your display, saying how much you've paid.
Overall, it's pretty simple and easy to use. Happy shopping!
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