From Baywatch to Barclays: David Hasselhoff Touts Mobile Payments
Banks have been loath to cede any ground to carriers and handset makers in designing mobile wallets, so it seems out of character for JPMorgan Chase and Capital One to support Isis, the carrier-controlled entrant in the mobile payments race.February 27
Tell people that the last time you shopped, you were met with confetti, can-can dancers and a congratulatory David Hasselhoff, and friends will likely suggest you have your head examined.
Unless you're Aiden O'Neill, that is.
Barclays unveiled a video last month of O'Neill shopping with the British bank's new PayTag device, a small sticker stuck to the back of a mobile phone that links to a customer's credit card.
O'Neill is the first customer in the United Kingdom to use a PayTag to make a purchase, according to the bank.
The video shows him walking into an unnamed store and picking up a DVD. After he pays by swiping the back of his phone, he's met with a medley of revelers, including cheerleaders, a brass band and — why not? — the Hoff.
"Aiden was the first to use his Barclaycard PayTag and look what happened," Hasselhoff exclaims on the video, with his arm around a perplexed O'Neill.
Pop culture icon Hasselhoff became famous for his leading roles in television series "Knight Rider" and "Baywatch," and became infamous for more recent exploits. A video of him drunkenly eating a cheeseburger in a hotel room went viral in 2007, and since then he has hit the reality television circuit, competing on or judging shows from "Dancing with the Stars" to "America's Got Talent."
PayTag was unveiled in April, and Barclays' first "invited" British Visa cardholders will begin receiving the device in coming weeks, the bank said in a May 29 press release. It will make PayTag available to "millions" of additional customers later this year, according to the release.
But American Barclaycard customers are missing out on PayTag — and its celebrity spokesman. A British spokesman said in an email that the technology is only available in the U.K. and that Barclays has no plans to roll it out in the U.S.
British cardholders can use PayTag for purchases of up to £20 at participating locations that have contactless payments technology. Visa expects the number of contactless point-of-sale terminals in the U.K. to rise by 50% to 150,000 this year, Barclays says.
The bank's U.S. Barclaycard division focuses largely on cobranded cards, but has also been participating in some American mobile payments projects. For example, Barclays is one of the issuers on the mobile payments venture Isis.