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What Are Wearable Payment Devices?

Last editedApr 20222 min read

We’ve all heard of the Apple watch, but now various other companies are getting in on the trend, with everything from wristbands to rings and jacket sleeves becoming wearable payment devices. In this post, we’ll explore wearable payment technology and determine whether or not it’s truly the future of consumer payments.

What are wearable payment methods?

Wearables can be defined as devices which can be attached to the body — or worn — and used to issue payments. The most well known examples include smart watches which are linked to digital wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

As a vendor, as long as your point of sale (POS) system accepts contactless payments, then you are able to take wearable payments as well.

The increasing popularity of wearable payment technology is chiefly down to two factors:

  • Consumers are now increasingly accustomed to being able to make contactless payments, making wearables the natural next step.

  • The pandemic has further pushed cash payments and even chip and pin payments into disuse, with customers favouring no-contact payment methods.

Consumers prioritise speed and convenience when it comes to making payments, rendering wearables a desirable option for expedient and sanitary checkout.

Examples of wearable payment devices UK

With wearable contactless payment devices surging in popularity, many companies have got in on the action. Below is a brief exploration of some of the wearable payment devices available today.

  • A contactless payment jacket - British menswear designer Lyle & Scott collaborated with Barclaycard to design a contactless payment jacket, with a chip in the jacket cuff, allowing users to make contactless transactions without needing to pull out their card or phone.

  • The Disney Magicband - Disney created the Magicband for use while at their resorts, allowing visitors to buy food and refreshments, tickets to attractions and rides, and even unlock their hotel room using the band.

  • Olympic athlete wearables - For the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, athletes were able to pay for food, souvenirs and other goods and services at Olympic venues using payment rings, pins and bands.

  • Apple Watch - Possibly the most famous of wearable payment devices, the Apple Watch uses Apple Pay to allow users to make contactless payments via their watch.

  • Sony Wena - The Wena is another smartwatch which functions as an ordinary watch with the additional feature of allowing mobile payments via Barclaycard in the UK.

  • bPay - Powered by Barclaycard, bPay is a mainstay on the wearable technology market, offering jackets, fobs and stickers which are all able to make contactless payments.

  • Ringly - In partnership with Mastercard, Ringly allows customers to make contactless payments using a wearable ring.

The future of wearable payment technology

The global wearable payments devices market size was valued at USD 10.35 billion in 2020, a figure which is to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 29.8% from 2021 to 2028. The majority of this growth is predicted to come from smart watches as they are currently the most popular wearable, however smart jewellery, clothing and even glasses are likely to grow in popularity in the coming years. Indeed, the field of wearable devices in the UK is set to get very exciting very soon.

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