[Dave Birch] The agreement between Transport for London and Barclaycard made the news. Barclays customers will soon (ie, mid-2007) be able to use their cards in the normal chip and PIN manner; as an Oyster card by placing the card on TfL readers; or to make contactless payments at retailers around London. For purchases of less than £10, consumers will complete the transaction by just placing the card against the reader, while for more expensive items users will have to verify the deal by entering their PIN as usual. Sounds fun — I’ll apply for one.

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As a big payments nerd, I was a little disappointed that the newspapers didn’t pick up on just how clever these cards are. The cards (to be produced by Gemalto) are dual-interface cards — that is, they have a contact interface and a contactless interface — and a single chip that implements three payment protocols: the standard Visa chip & PIN (VSDC) application, the standard Visa Europe contactless (qVSDC) application and the Oyster application. But all the cleverness is hidden inside. Outside, the cards will look
exactly the same as traditional Barclaycard credit cards but will also have Visa’s contactless symbol as well as the Oyster logo on the reverse side.

For those of you interested in learning more about this project, we’ve recorded an extra digital money podcast with Richard Mould who is the head of the project on the Barclays’ side and we’ll have it up on the site shortly.

My opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public. [posted with ecto]

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