The less visible a payment is, the more value it holds

As consumers increasingly use digital channels more, banks and financial institutions are under pressure to not only make payments seamless, but invisible in order to maximise convenience. Nick Kerigan, managing director of future payments at Barclaycard, speaks to Briony Richter about what drives payment innovations at Barclaycard

Nick Kerigan

Nick Kerigan chats about what Barclaycard does to power innovation in payments. He says: “Barclaycard has a rich heritage of innovation. We were the first to launch a credit card in the UK in 1966.

“I think it is important how we look at innovation and there are several different ways of doing that, but we at Barclaycard have a particular type of lens on the world and what sits at the heart of it is looking at what the customer actually needs.”

Invisible payments

Invisible payments are driving a frictionless and interactive payment experience across all sectors in society. An invisible payment is one that takes place in the background. Consumers don’t need to input a PIN or tap their cards, but simply chose a product or a service and complete the whole transaction in app.

Kerigan states: “It’s about convenience and control. One of the big trends we see in payments is invisible payments. That differentiates us. We identified early that invisible payments were becoming a trend.

“We created a solution called Grab and Go which is our shopping without checkout experience. A consumer can go into a store, scan an item and just pay and walk out. We piloted that in the Barclays canteen. We reduced the queuing time from five minutes to 27 seconds.”


Paradoxically the less intrusive and visible payments are, the more desired they become to consumers.

That’s the premise behind invisible payments. The idea is to understate the transaction process and create a seamless quality payment experience. Payments embed so well that they fade into the background.


  • Acceptance – Consumers want to know that their payments have been accepted. Precise online alerts in real-time reassure a consumer of the payment transaction.
  • Convenience – Payments should be convenient, frictionless and simple. Nowadays if a payment method is even slightly more complicated than another, chances are consumers will go to the other.
  • Security – Organisations must be absolutely transparent about the way a consumer’s financial data is stored and handled. With recent data scandals, security is crucial when it comes to making payments.
  • Speed – Consumers don’t want the process of making a payment to take up much of their time. The concept of invisible payments aligns with the growing consumer desire for instant results.

Dine & Dash

In March 2018, Barclaycard trialled another invisible payments solution, dubbed ‘Dine & Dash.’ In partnership with restaurant chain Prezzo, the ‘Dine & Dash’ technology can be accessed through a mobile app where the customer can instantly pay for their meal without having to wait for the bill. A ‘totem’ placed on the tables, lights up blue when the ‘Dine & Dash’ is activated. When the consumer is ready to leave, they simply tap to pay and totem will turn green.

Kerigan highlights the reason for the physical totem is to reassure customers.

“As we got deeper into the research, what we found is that customers want to have that convenience of just being able to walk out. Equally, consumers want the reassurance that they have paid the bill.

“We created a physical device that sits on the table at a restaurant, we called it the totem. The idea of that was to give the customer a visual indicator.”

This innovation came after research from Barclaycard revealed that over a third of restaurant goers (36%) found waiting for the bill the most frustrating part of eating out. Thus, Barclaycard saw the opportunity to integrate a more seamless payment solution into the restaurant industry.

Payments technology can support the path to immediacy with a new level of seamlessness, simplicity and speed. There is no denying that as a society we have entered into an exciting age of payments invisibility.

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