To pay from your pocket or wrist?

Apple were up to their tricks again with the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015, with many people immediately asking what the watch would offer. Around the same time contactless payments began making a noise as possible payment options.

As consumers, we are all used to making cash or card payments (and maybe still cheque payments), but as the digital age rolls on,and technology advances, more convenient options are emerging. And now, with the combination of wrist devices and contactless payments, it could become easier than ever.

Although the Apple Watch is the biggest thing to hit the wrist wearables market in over 100 years, it is not the only wrist device to make tech headlines over the last year. Because contactless payments have been mostly limited to mobile devices such as phones or tablets, Barclays Bank in the UK decided launching a wrist band which one can hold up to a contactless paypoint would be a strong investment. The band is known as the bPay band, while in the US Purewristis of a near identical concept. The wrist band contains a chip onto which you load funds. How do you load the funds onto the wrist band you might ask? In order to do this you simply download the app, from where you transfer money to the band. There are currently limits on how much you can load while the devices are still in their teething phases, but this ensures that if the wrist band is stolen then you do not lose a potentially high amount of funds. And as the band cannot go into credit the risks are low compared to carrying around a credit card.

Today the tech world really comes down to convenience. The need for greater speed revolves around how impatient we have become, while the size all depends on how well it fits in our pockets, or typing accessibility. Developers of the wrist bands are banking on the fact that people will no longer need to fish around in their pockets when needing to pay. A quick swipe of the wrist is all it takes, and this theory does come with some merit. Perfect scenarios where this payment method would work a treat would be public transport. The thought of going into stadiums for sporting events or concerts where no one is rooting through their wallets or arguing with bar staff about the lack of card machine facilities seems quite refreshing.

Of course all of this can be done on your mobile device too, but some people prefer to leave their device at home, or perhaps even forget it by mistake. With the wrist band there shouldn’t be any danger of forgetfulness.

Apple is hoping that the Apple Watch will be just as convenient as the wrist bands currently being implemented by the banks. Apple Pay is the Californian tech giant’s answer to moving into the contactless payments sphere. The ease at which it takes to make a payment from an Apple Watch is almost as straightforward as the bPay band, however the only extra required is a double click on the side of the watch when held up to a contactless pay-point. Such is the rate at which technology is moving forward it isn’t unimaginable to see us using this form of payment at almost every self-service pay-point in the near future. McDonalds in the UAE has developed digital ordering stations in-store, where customers are able to pay via card. It is only a matter of time before this becomes standard in our daily lives, and if one is able to pay via the swipe of their wrist instead of presenting their card and entering a code then even better.

It seems apparent that contactless payments will make most sense coming from the wrist, it just remains to be seen off what devices. As expected the wrist bands are considerately cheaper than a smart watch, although they do only carry one function. On the other hand the smart watch will offer you a whole load of extra functions that one might feel necessary in the digital age. It is possible to talk to people through your smart watch, while activities such as Scrabble and Poker can be played on today’s smart watches. Indeed is putting a large focus into smart watch accessibility.

The current devices noted aren’t to be alone in this field for long, however. Samsung Pay, set to work from Samsung devices, is sure to function in a near identical way to Apply Pay, while Google Wallet has been in the works for some time now. Jawbone, a technology wearables company, is producing an exercise statistic band in partnership with American Express. Apart from being fully geared to measure exercise statistics it will have contactless payment functionality through topping up with Amex.

There are various services around the world which are essentially contactless payments, but they all seem to rely on a visual code similar to a bar code in which to make payment. A revolution in the payment sector is surely coming, and it looks set to come from the wrist.

Published by Nishitha

I am done with my Physiotherapy Graduation. And I always try to share Health and technology tips with people. Apart from Physiotherapy and being a tech savvy, I do explore more on Technology side and I keep sharing my findings with wider audience.

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