How to go cardless: my contactless day
You can read more about going cardless in our feature 'Make life easier with cardless payments'.
My morning run
I don’t like to take my wallet or phone out with me on a run so I gave Barclaycard’s bPay a spin. My first stop was Sainsbury’s for a bottle of water - unfortunately it doesn’t accept any form of contactless payment. But a few doors down I was able to tap my wristband in a small convenience store, which is used to handling Oyster top ups.
It was a very easy way to pay. However, since I usually do have my phone and wallet on me, I struggle to see how often I’d actually use the wristband.
Getting the tube
I’ve got a credit card, which offers 3% cashback on tube travel, and it was simple to select the card I wanted to use via Apple Pay before applying my thumbprint to confirm the purchase.
It took a few seconds longer than using an Oyster card to move through the gates, but I much preferred tapping my phone than trying to fish my Oyster card from my wallet, especially with my hands full later in the day.
Shopping in town
Again, I used Apple Pay to buy a few items in town. It was as simple to use as on the tube but we were unable to spend more than £30 in the shops we visited, and it’s not quite clear which shops allow spending over this amount. In these instances I used good old card Chip and Pin instead.
Selflessly, my research took me to one of my favourite restaurants to try out payments by app.
Once we’d eaten, I simply typed the table number into the restaurant’s bespoke payment app, which brought up our bill, allowed us to split it between the group, and to add different sized tips too. I simply added my card details and pressed submit. Then we were free to leave.
Buying drinks in a bar
Sadly, my cardless experiment came to an end late on. The bar we went to not only didn’t accept contactless payments, it was cash-only.
Andy scans his phone instead of his Oyster card.
In principle, I love cardless technology; I’d happily ditch all the cards from my wallet if I could be guaranteed I wouldn’t need them. But until then, and seeing as it’s just as simple - if not a little quicker - to pay by card, I don’t expect to use mobile payments very often.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.