Stubborn Barclays bungles mobile payments for second time

By Oliver Smith 12 May 2016

Isn't this exactly what happened 12 months ago with Apple Pay? Yes, yes it is.

Barclays has a bit of a bizarre history when it comes to mobile payments, and the bank looks set to continue that trend.

This morning Barclays revealed it is launching its own mobile payments solution for Android smartphones, so you can pay for stuff in shops just by using Barclays’ mobile banking app.

What’s bizarre is that Barclays will be launching ‘Contactless Mobile’ next month just beating Google’s own Android Pay service, which does essentially the same thing and is expected to launch soon after.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because this isn’t the first time Barclays has championed its own mobile payments app or solution over those promoted by mobile phone makers, and it probably won’t be the last.

Despite the fact that Barclays has, by far, the best mobile banking app in our opinion (read The Great British Mobile Banking Review 2016 to find out why), if you’re a Barclays customer you won’t have missed their weirdness around mobile payments.

Apple Pay and bPay

It all started with Apple Pay, the ability to pay for things with your iPhone, which Barclays initially refused to support.

Instead the bank promoted bPay, a weird wristband that lets you make contactless payments from your wrist.

Read more: Apple Pay holdout Barclays offers new ways to pay

That might sound innovative, but bear in mind contactless bank cards were already widespread in 2014 when bPay launched, and all it did was essentially put a contactless bank card on your wrist.

Eventually Barclays buckled and finally rolled out support for Apple Pay in April 2016, after a few misfires, a full 10 months after Apple Pay launched.

Read more: Barclays finally launches Apple Pay

History is repeating itself

Now when Google revealed its launch partners for Android Pay’s upcoming UK launch, there was one noticeable exception.

You guessed it, Barclays.

It now seems that once again Barclays customers will be forced to use the bank’s own mobile payments offering on Android, rather than Google’s own solution that will be better integrated into Android smartphones.

Will Barclays eventually buckle and support Android Pay? If history is any guide, we bet it will.