Almost two-thirds of industry professionals have predicted that wearable payment technology will be the next key innovation in banking.
Specialist Banking recently conducted an online poll that asked readers: ‘Is contactless jewellery the thing of the future?’
Some 62.5% of respondents said it was, while 37.5% disagreed.
Adam Herson, business development director at Barclays Mobile Payments, believed that the latest generation of connected payments systems were more attractive than ever.
“The creation of flexible chips that can be implanted into jewellery is a game-changer, because this combines the improved payments experience with a product that a potential customer needs or wants anyway.”
Barclaycard is working with a range of brands to build mobile payment technology into jewellery and watches, including jewellery retailer DCK Concessions.
The partnership has created a range of bracelets incorporating wearable contactless payment technology powered by bPay.
The future of wearable payment technology
The latest data from IT firm Fujitsu has revealed that 28% of business leaders in the UK are planning to implement wearables in the future.
Ian Bradbury, CTO of financial services at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, said: “Contactless payments are not going away.
“Nearly eight in 10 merchants admit that their customers expect this payment ability because of the convenience it affords.
“As wearable technologies continue to grow – not least because of the launch of the Apple Watch – it’s potential to support payment technologies will increase.
“Similar to other technologies, an increase in functionality and reduction in price is likely to drive up sales.”
Fashion, health and risks
Adam added: “As contactless payment chips become more flexible, it is easier for fashion and jewellery brands to embed them into their products without losing the all-important look, feel and design.
“This convenience is one of the key benefits of contactless jewellery and wearables, making life easier for consumers as they go about their daily lives.”
In March last year, fintech firm Kerv announced the launch of its contactless payment ring at the Wearable Technology Show 2017, before announcing a partnership with Netherlands bank ABN AMRO to trial its devices this month.
ABN AMRO has invited 500 of its clients to test new wearable payment technology using a ring, watch, bracelet or keyring.
Last week, Australia-based Bankwest announced that its customers could now use its payment ring, the Bankwest Halo.
“Think about a gym, for example, users may want to make purchases while working out – like water or a snack – but probably don’t want to carry cash or even a card with them,” Adam added.
“A connected watch or item of jewellery which a gym-goer may already be wearing allows them to exercise freely, but still buy the desired products.”
In October last year, mobile challenger Starling Bank announced the launch of payments on health and fitness smartwatches from Fitbit.
US international bank Wells Fargo followed suit earlier this month by announcing its own partnership with Fitbit to launch Fitbit Pay to its customers.
Could there be security issues?
“The ease with which a contactless payment can be made means that they are continuing to gain traction with the public and many retailers see them as a secure and practical alternative to cash,” Ian explained.
“For others, however, the security of wearables might still be a question – especially as these devices are more prone to being lost or stolen.
“This risk is heightened if the payment mechanism is in a piece of jewellery.
“Many wearables already do offer an enhanced level of security, for example, needing to be in close proximity to a smartphone to process the transaction.”
Ian predicted that more simple biometrics like this could be incorporated into wearables in the near future.
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