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barclaycard one pulse - is this a good idea?

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barclaycard onepulseSo there’s a new card from Barclaycard - called one pulse. It’s a hybrid of a credit card, an Oyster card (for public transport in London) and also you can use it for small cash purchases by touching it against a special card reader in participating shops.

This third feature means that it’s a card that really is quicker than cash. You can spend up to £10 in a small transaction, and this will be added to your credit card bill in the usual way. In the UK all standard card transactions require the use of chip and pin, this is a way to avoid that *hassle* and pay for small items cheaply.

I don’t live in London so it hasn’t been marketed to me, as there are (as far as I know) no shops accepting it up here as anything other than a credit card - and of course I don’t use an Oyster card every day. My friend has one, and he says that he hasn’t really used it for the cashless feature, but that it’s quite convenient to only carry round one card for both travel and purchases.

I’m not sure. I know there is a hope that people will spend more money if they have this card than they would if they bought with cash - basically the man from Barclaycard said almost exactly that on the BBC Radio 4 moneybox programme on Saturday. It’s also true that small change is expensive to handle - especially if you are talking about vending machines and the like. I can see why people selling us stuff would want to switch to this new cashless system. But, what’s in it for us?

Do any of you use the new onepulse? Is it really convenient, or do you just spend more money? Whether you’ve got one or not, tell me what you think of the idea?

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9 comments for “barclaycard one pulse - is this a good idea?”

  1. The Chase Freedom Visa Card has similar technology. It is called “blink”. I tried it once and it took three taps to get it to go. I think it is a worthless gimmick.

    Posted by rocketc | December 27, 2007, 2:27 pm
  2. Well, if it really works (and rocketc seems to have doubts) then it might be useful. I have a metro card that I use pretty often and it would be nice to combine the two. Also, I like that the tap can’t take out more than $20. I wouldn’t want it working for huge purchases.

    One reason why the tap/blink might not work so well–they don’t want the field to be so strong that you could accidentally buy something without putting your card up to the machine.

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | December 27, 2007, 3:41 pm
  3. I have just applied for one myself, mostly as an experiment to see how well they work. I try and avoid using credit cards as a general rule, so am not overly concerned about the cash back benefits offered by other credit cards. If the one pluse works well, it will be a great opportunity to have one less thing cluttering up my wallet.

    The only problem I have seen so far is the risk involved if you lose your card. A friend lost his and while everything was easy to resolve in terms of the credit card. It proved much harder to get his London travel card reinstated onto his new card. I guess the moral of the story is not to lose your wallet.

    My new card should be arriving over the next few days so I will keep you posted on how it goes.

    Posted by Generation Y | December 27, 2007, 4:13 pm
  4. Was initially excited, and presumably the system will allow you to see what your ‘insignificant’ purchases were, which is a good thing.

    However, it’s Barclays (grr), and I’ve seen a couple of stories about theft using readers (I think saying that pulse has been set for wider range than US versions). Main thing- it’s getting a bit big brother to have a 3-in-1; OK your credit card co knows what you bought & where, but details of smaller purchases fill out the picture, and transport is a whole ‘nother raft of data..

    Posted by Pippin | December 28, 2007, 11:49 am
  5. I love convenience and less clutter, so I think if I lived in the region I would be inclined to use it - but only if I were already a member of the bank. I love my current bank, and have no designs to change as of right now.

    Posted by Patrick | December 28, 2007, 12:27 pm
  6. I guess maybe “worthless” might have been too strong, but I don’t see how it is more convenient or faster to “tap” rather than to “slide”.

    I also wonder what might happen if a hacker created a card reading machine that could read your card in your wallet. He is probably already working on it.

    Posted by rocketc | December 28, 2007, 7:41 pm
  7. I have seen a lot of commercials about this card and there is a lot of guy in the tube trying to get you enrolled.

    IMHO giving all your details to a guy in the tube may not be the best thing to do. Especially when the guy lies to you by explaining that you cannot register for the card on the Internet or at a Barclay branch.

    Concerning the card I did not apply for it. I had very bad experiences with credit cards (on a technical point of view). Don’t want to have to change the whole thing when the oyster or the contact less stop working.

    Posted by JF | December 30, 2007, 3:36 pm
  8. I think it would be great! With my job, I have free access to public transportation with my ID. It would be great to be able to purchase a random Coke with my ID card too…

    Posted by SavingDiva | January 2, 2008, 3:29 pm

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