A man shows holds up his Swatch Pay watch which he will now pay for his coffee with
#Trusted Software

A stylish new way to pay

Global Trends
6 Mins.

With consumers increasingly confident in the trustworthiness and practicality of wearable technology, contactless payment using different types of devices is trending, enabling simple new ways to pay. Wearables have entered the real world as sleek, stylish items that do their job invisibly and effortlessly.

In early 2019, Swatch unveiled a new range of analog fashion watches in the company’s distinctive eye‐catching style. The difference is that these watches contain SwatchPAY!, a contactless payment system that works exactly like contactless credit and debit cards.

When the purchaser buys the watch, they can securely load a virtual card, linked to an existing credit or debit card, to their SwatchPAY! Watch. Using the SwatchPAY! App, co-developed by G+D Mobile Security, consumers can securely load the virtual card onto their SwatchPAY! Watches in all participating Swatch stores.

Shopping, transport and leisure activities can now be paid for with a flick of the wrist. Wearables have entered the real world, not as a smartwatch or band, but as a sleek stylish item that does its job invisibly and effortlessly. Using the same technology as battery-less cards, the transactions take no energy at all from the watch itself. The new payment features have zero impact on the design and battery life of the watches and they’ll work even if the battery is flat. Plus, after purchase, the watch owner can deactivate or delete payment options from the watch at will.

Guaranteeing security

Close-up of a hand with a Swatch Pay while paying
Wearables have entered the real world as a sleek, stylish item that does its job effortlessly

It takes a special kind of trust to put your payment authority into a device that does not come from your bank or a major IT company. The combination of consumer experience with contactless payment and Swatch’s strong brand carries it off. The contactless technology that guarantees the security of the system and allows it to become part of the global payment network, comes from Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security Wearable Enablement Platform and embedded secure elements.

There are other signs that wearable technology is escaping the obvious smart gadget niche. While wearable functionality still revolves around health and notification, there’s a strong movement towards decorative options. The Kate Spade New York scallop watch does the usual smartwatch features of activity monitoring, weather notification and so on, but also includes an app that asks you questions about your dress and handbag color and when you’ll be out and about.

“Wearables are good for location, authentication and sensing“
Adrian Mars
Technology journalist

Totwoo’s pendant likewise does walking and calorie-burn tracking, and UV exposure, but also stores pictures, videos, and other files, and has a messaging mode. It comes with a jewelry box that charges the pendant when it’s placed inside: good wearable technology that fits into normal patterns of life.

Where to now for contactless wearables?

With fashionable advances already being made, once 5G and IoT become more widely available, what will the state of wearables look like? These two innovations are designed to support low-power, long-lived devices with services like tracking and data communication.

“Wearables are good for location, authentication and sensing,” says London-based technology journalist Adrian Mars. “And the technology is increasingly embeddable and long-lived, giving it a ‘fit and forget’ aspect.” There won’t be a large divergence from the same functions wearables carry out at now, he says, but in an increasingly ubiquitous and flexible way.

“Your high-value personal items can react to leaving your possession unexpectedly, alerting you to their loss or reporting their progress if stolen. Health and environmental monitoring could spread to clothing and away from the wristband model, and become an option in all manner of items.”


Finding the niche

But, he cautions, smart clothing may take longer to arrive. “It’s a hard life. You have to wash clothes, and they wear out quickly. And who really wants to recharge a sock?”

With consumers increasingly confident in the trustworthiness and practicality of wearable technology, and with mobile payment systems in general, the key is to find the niche where a demographic fits with a technology – and then not to have to worry about the technology.

Published: 03/05/2020

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