Is payment innovation really innovative if it involves glue?

It’s all Apple’s fault really. If Apple would just hurry up and launch an NFC-enabled version of the iPhone then payment providers wouldn’t feel the need to do silly things like Barclaycard has done with its latest PayTag initiative.

But Apple is keeping the payment and retail industries waiting. And so in the meantime I’ve been sent a piece of plastic with an embedded NFC chip by Barclaycard that it wants me to stick to the back of my smart phone.

It’s hard for me to find anything positive to say about a payment “innovation” that uses actual glue, rather than the metaphorical glue that real technology solutions often employ. I guess it’s good that Barclaycard recognises that payment is going to move to phones, and continues to engage consumers with NFC to drive the adoption rates that retailers want to see before investing in NFC payment infrastucture?

But real payment innovation will only come through applications that use the smart bits of smart phones; and are accepted by enough merchants to enable consumers to really do away with other forms of payment.

As a Barclaycard customer it’s hard to have a balanced view. Well apart from the fact that the NFC sticker idea is not new, I don’t understand what my motivation would be for sticking something to a smart phone that’s worth several hundreds of pounds; especially when I have a wallet and NFC-enabled credit card that’s just as easy to grab out of my handbag.

The obvious use for this little piece of plastic is to stick it to other objects and become an overnight YouTube sensation by filming oneself seemingly paying by swiping items such as a wand or small lapdog, for instance. Short of this, I can’t see PayTag getting much traction.