The end of the wallet

The end of the wallet

When everyday items become multi-taskers: in the age of smartphones and smartwatches, will we soon be paying with our accessories as well?

Pay with your bracelet, ring or watch – anything is possible. Confused? Don't be, reassures Sascha Breite, Head Future Payments at SIX Payment Services: "There's no need to be worried: from a technological point of view, it's based on the same principle as the payment cards featuring contactless functions that we already know and use today." In most cases the NFC technology that is embedded in these cards is used in so-called wearables – miniaturized mobile computer systems that are integrated into clothing or accessories.
 

An inexorable trend
The launch of the Apple Watch has unleashed a wave of product announcements. Swatch is just one of the many renowned watch manufacturers to be working on a watch with an NFC function. "Wearable payments is becoming an established trend," says Sascha Breite, adding: "Merchants are increasingly being faced with customers who want to pay using a variety of means. They need to gear their payment services to accommodate this trend and train their sales staff accordingly." This means installing a payment terminal with a contactless function and getting ready for the fact that soon it will not only be cards and smartphones that are used to pay.
 

Enhancing the shopping experience
While many of these developments are still in their infancy, some intelligent payment options that let customers leave their wallets at home are already in the test phase. These include the "tap and pay" glove being trialed by a British bank, which allows customers to pay in a flash simply by holding the back of their hand up to the payment terminal – and in the process wave goodbye to having to put down their shopping bags and start rummaging through their wallet to find their card. This not only saves time, but also enhances the shopping experience.