Wearable payment technology is one of the most popular trends sweeping the financial and fashion worlds. However, what is it exactly, and why does it continue to receive so much media attention?
The “what” is easy to explain.
Wearable payment technology is an umbrella term used to describe any type of fashionable accessory that allows users to buy products and services. Although mobile phones technically fall into this category, wearable technology usually applies to accessories that physically attach to the user in some way.
Common examples include:
- The Apple Watch. To call this example "common" is somewhat of an understatement, given how incredibly successful this wearable payment technology has become. Even before officially launching its product, Apple sold nearly 1,000,000 units.
- Google Glass. Originally launched back in 2013, these high-tech glasses are now being phased out by Google. Yet during their brief time on the market, they helped raise awareness of what wearable payment technology can do.
Let's explore why wearable technology is all the rage.
Why Consumers Like Wearing Payment Solutions
Probably the biggest benefit of wearable payment technology is convenience. Cash, credit cards and even physical wallets are on their way out. Many consumers regard these traditional payment methods as cumbersome.
Mobile payments continue to become more popular, but even smartphones have their limitations — they’re easily misplaced and often forgotten.
By contrast, wearable technology is something that you always have on you. Imagine prescription glasses that allow you to shop wherever you please — and the Apple Watch never has to leave your wrist.
However, there are other advantages of wearable payments, including:
- They are highly fashionable, often blending seamlessly with whatever you're wearing. There are even jewelry accessories (i.e. NFC-enabled rings and pendants).
- Merchants benefit from impulse purchases. Waving a wrist or tapping a finger is much easier than pulling out your wallet, swiping a credit card, and signing a receipt.
One of the biggest benefits, however, is integration.
For example, you can use wearable technology to monitor your heart activity and go shopping. Or merchants can use geo-targeting to offer coupons to nearby shoppers.
… and that’s just the beginning …
What Does the Future Hold for Wearable Payment Technology?
In many ways, the future is already here. The contact lenses and iris scanners of Minority Report currently exist — and QR code tattoos are just around the corner.
Though moving forward, it is likely that wearable payment technology will become even smaller and less conspicuous. For many, miniaturization is the Holy Grail of the industry. We’re talking about biometric chips implanted under the skin — or terminals capable of instantly decoding DNA (the ultimate wearable technology).
Another trend is the inevitable convergence between fashion manufacturers and financial institutions. Fitbit and Jawbone are perfect examples of technologies that started in fitness before integrating payment solutions. Disney’s MagicBands allows visitors of the company's amusement parks to shop, ride and even check into their hotel rooms.
Again — this is only the beginning.
To learn more about wearable technology and how it can improve your business, contact our payment support team today.