Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Barclaycard launches contactless payments for dogs

Black Labrador puppy lying in a pile of money

Ever wished you could give a credit card to your pet dog, but despaired about the lack of technology available on the market to facilitate this? Barclaycard thinks it has the answer. On 1st April the company unveiled PayWag – a new contactless payments solution designed specifically for dogs.

April Fools’ Day usually serves as a good occasion for companies to show their lighter sides and earn some free publicity. And with a host of well-known brands competing to come up with the most imaginative and hilarious hoax, this time around has not been any different.

But out of this year’s contenders, Treasury Today can see a clear winner. On Monday, Barclaycard announced on the microblogging site Twitter that it was planning to introduce a new product that the company hoped would take NFC payments technology to the next level – Barclaycard PayWag.

PayWag will be “the world’s first contactless payment device for dogs”, Barclaycard told its social media followers. As a video which the company posted to YouTube demonstrates, a payment chip is fitted to a special collar allowing it to function much like a normal card. A purchase can be completed simply by placing the contactless terminal near to the collar. Then, when your bill eventually comes through, PayWag transactions will be helpfully highlighted by a small paw print next to the charge.

Just think of the many benefits this technology will bring to consumers, Barclaycard enthused. Imagine that you are out shopping but have your hands full when you reach the checkout – now your dog can take care of the transaction for you. What’s more, the next time you visit a pet store you could even allow your puppies to pay directly for toys and treats they pick out. What could possibly go wrong?

Sadly, PayWag is not a real product. Of course, it is just an amusing idea the company drummed up to celebrate April Fools’ Day, while drawing consumers’ attention to the advantages of its contactless payments technology.

But dog owners excited by the possibilities of allowing pets to take charge of their finances need not feel too deflated. As this article published in American Banker the year before last demonstrates, one company’s idea of a practical joke is another’s actual business plan.

Perhaps it wasn’t such a barking mad idea after all.