Paying with Your Watch? It’s the Wave of the Future

Imagine this: you’re running low on coffee, so you run into your local grocery store to pick up a bag of the instant stuff. When you get to the checkout line, you don’t pull out your wallet. Instead, you tap your smart watch against a terminal. Within a second, you’ve paid for your purchase.

Just a few years ago, this scenario would have sounded like something out of a science fiction movie. However, the ability to pay with a wearable device is no longer confined to the big screen. In fact, it will be coming to a cash register near you soon. Read on for a look at some of the latest developments in wearable payment technology.

The NFC Ring

At the end of August 2016, the company NFC Ring announced its payments ring would be available to the general public.

The NFC Ring is, as the name implies, a ring with near-field communication (NFC) capabilities. NFC technology enables devices to communicate with one another simply by holding them in proximity to each other. The NFC Ring transmits encrypted payment information to payment terminals when the wearer taps the ring against them.

Cypriot Bank Introduces NFC Wristbands

Many financial institutions have realized the impact of wearable technologies on the payment industry. Cyprus’ Hellenic Bank is one of them.

A couple of weeks before NFC Ring’s announcement, Hellenic Bank released the news that its customers would be able to use PayBands, an NFC wristband that enables them to make payments with their debit or credit card account.

Golfer Debuts Contactless Payment-Enabled Jacket

Golfer Graeme McDowell wore a jacket equipped with NFC technology to the 145th Open at Royal Troon in July 2016. The jacket had a transmitter built into its sleeve, so McDowell could pay for purchases simply by tapping his arm against a payment terminal.

McDowell’s jacket was part of his clothing line, G-Mac by Kartel. It’s also part of MasterCard’s collection of Commerce for Every Device program that aims to transform items of clothing and accessories into wearable payment devices.

Barclaycard Loop Turns Wearables into Wallets

In July 2016, the British credit card Barclaycard unveiled Loop, a wearable payment device that attaches to watches or fitness bands.

Loop is the fourth device in the Barclaycard bPay contactless payment device line. Since Barclaycard launched the bPay line, it has sold over 100,000 devices which have been used to make a million transactions totaling over $6 million.

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