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Rise of Wearables in Payments and Banking
Expected to reach $20.64 billion by end of 2022, wearables are here to stay. Not just in healthcare, retail, and telecom, but also in banking and payments. Changing customer priorities and fintech advancements accelerated the market for wearables in the pandemic era. With millennials, gen X, and gen Z consumers wanting secure, convenient, instantaneous transactions, contactless wearables are the way to go.
Projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.5%, the future of wearables is likely to evolve further as consumers and financial institutions transition into the cashless, digital universe. Some wearable payment devices have the potential to become a “one-stop-shop” for several services.
Disney’s Magic Band for instance is a wearable that Disney Land provides its visitors. Designed in the form of a funky wristband, the magic band functions as an access key, a payment device, and a personalized tracker. And it is also compatible with diverse smartphones and technologies.
What are wearable payment devices?
Wearable payment devices are apparel, gadgets, and accessories we use to make contactless payments. The most common types are smartwatches, belts, jackets, fitness trackers, and even rings. They use services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay to connect the device with the consumer’s bank account.
Top wearable payment devices in the market
The Apple Watch is one of the most popular smartwatches on the market, and it features NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. This technology allows the watch to communicate with other NFC-enabled devices, such as smartphones, to exchange data, make mobile payments, and do other contactless transactions.
Jawbone UP4 Fitness Tracker
The fitness tracker Jawbone UP4, supports contactless payments by partnering with American Express. The UP4 is Jawbone’s latest smartwatch, which is water-resistant. So you don’t need to worry about it getting wet.
Samsung Gear G3
Samsung Gear G3 offers contactless payment services through Samsung Pay. It works with Android devices and uses NFC technology and magnetic secure transmission to make payments. The Gear G3 can be linked to a Samsung account to make payments at any NFC-enabled terminal.
Ringly offers rings and bracelets that connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Partnering with MasterCard, they allow you to make contactless payments apart from tracking your activities. They allow you to make contactless payments with just a wave of your hand.
Now we’ve seen only a sample of wearable devices. Belts, jackets, and even shoes are used as wearable payment devices today.
How do wearable payment devices work?
To use a wearable payment device, say a smartwatch, the user needs to link the device to a credit card or bank account. Once the device is linked, the user can make payments by simply tapping the device against a payment terminal. The payment is then processed through the credit card or bank account that is linked to the device.
Wearable payment technologies
Wearable payment systems are quite commonly used in e-banking and payment platforms. They operate on technologies such as HCE, Barcode, Contactless Point of Sale, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and Near-field Communication (NFC) to enable payments and cash transfers.
Host Card Emulation (HCE)
Host Card Emulation (HCE) enables payments that are activated by NFC technology. It allows a device to emulate the functionality of a smart card to provide contactless payment capabilities using the ISO/IEC 7816–4 APDU command set. It communicates with a reader and stores data in the same way that a smart card would. A key benefit of using HCE is that it does not require a physical smart card or a built-in NFC reader. And it can be used for loyalty programs and access control too.
Some wearables are encoded with scan-and-go application barcode scanners for payments. It allows the customer to check out quickly without conventional processes. Barcode technology offers several advantages in wearable devices. They are secure, can be read quickly and easily, and can store a large amount of data. Newer barcode standards, such as QR codes can be deeply encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.
Contactless Point of Sale (CPOS)
The contactless point of sale (CPOS) is a new technology that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to communicate with the POS terminal and make payments. The CPOS system is fast, convenient, and secure. You just hold your card near the POS terminal, and the payment will be processed automatically. It uses the latest encryption technology to protect personal information.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID wearables such as rings, wristbands, and dongles comprise an embedded chip with an RFID tag. The tag is a unique identifier that an RFID reader can read. The reader can track the tag’s location or access wearer information. RFID-enabled wearables offer many advantages over traditional ID payment devices. They are more difficult to lose or misplace and can be read from a distance, making them ideal for tracking assets or people.
Near-field Communication (NFC)
NFC is a short-range wireless technology that enables two devices to communicate when they are near each other, typically no more than a few centimeters. It is a convenient way to share small amounts of data between devices and works great in wearable payment devices, such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and clothing.
Wearables, IoT, and Fintech
As with many things to do with digital transformation, the pandemic pushed businesses to explore and invest in Point-of-Sale (POS) technology, making wearables more than just useful tools. Readily available and user-friendly in usage and navigation, payment apps such as Google Pay and Apple Wallets, have made it easy for all demographics to transition smoothly into wearable technology.
In the current mobile climate, using the Internet of Things (IoT) in banking is the way to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Wearable payment devices and IoT helps the financial sector to gain deep customer insight and improve user experience. Banks implementing IoT have seen benefits in cost savings, higher efficiency in business processes, and better customer experience. They have also been able to build new revenue models.
There is no doubt that Fintech needs wearables, as it opens up new opportunities to transform their businesses and remain strong contenders in the market. We see the increasing use of wearables and in a way, they may even replace mobile phones in the future.
How wearables benefit banks and fintechs
Access to data
Wearables provide banks access to voluminous data as they are worn by customers most of the time. Customer intelligence gained can be used to enhance experiences and personalize products and services. Wearables are critical to data extraction and analytics.
Personalization of customer service
Financial institutions and fintechs today recognize the need to be customer-centric. And data extracted from wearables have proven to personalize and optimize customer interactions. Wearables can help predict customer behavior through real-time data and target them with recommendations and personalized offers.
Omnichannel user experience
A combination of IoT and wearables can make all the difference in omnichannel customer experience. Fintech and banks can gain a competitive edge with wearables, for example, using smartwatches to make ATM withdrawals and biometric-enabled transactions.
Banks and fintechs need to mitigate risk by assessing potential factors. Analyzing customer data extracted from wearables can help enhance risk management decisions on lending, or insurance, among many others.
Banking Wearables in India
India is fast catching up in the wearables market, especially after RBI increased the limit for contactless transactions to Rs. 5000. Both SBI and Axis Bank have launched their wearables Titan Pay and Wear n’ Pay, respectively.
Titan Pay is a wearable collaboration between Titan and SBI that offers watches to enable contactless payments. It comprises a mobile app that allows users to send and receive money instantly. Using the watch and the app, users can transact in multiple currencies, track spending, and even set up a budget.
Wear n’ Pay
Wear n’ Pay devices include accessories like key chains and watch loops from AXIS Bank. It allows you to pay for purchases by just swiping your wrist. The system uses a special wristband that you can wear while you shop. You simply swipe your wristband across the payment terminal to pay for your purchase.
The integration of wearable & contactless payments is an emerging trend in the modern payment system. While digital payment trends keep on changing, the need to provide the best consumer experience across the platform is always constant for Financial Institutions and Payment Service providers.
At M2P, we provide the best customizable payment experiences for businesses. Using our end-to-end API stack, we ensure that modern innovations and technology are seamlessly integrated into your ecosystem. Our APIs enable channel management and limit management in PoS, Contactless Payments, Ecommerce, Withdrawal on our Cards Issuance Platform.
Want to know more about integrating contactless payments and other customizable features on your payments platform?
Write to us at [email protected].
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How The Metaverse Promises The Real World Experience The World Wide Web Shunned
The internet was a clunky technology in 1995 that promised to change the world. Consumers didn’t understand it, and pundits mocked its significance. The internet, as we know it, eventually went on to transform the world, emerging as one of the most significant technological leaps of our lifetime.
Now, twenty-seven years later, we find ourselves at a similar juncture. Web3 promises to turn our world upside down and make the advances realized by the internet seem small by comparison.
And yet 99.9% of my sophisticated network (and the rest of the world) can’t comprehend it, explain it, or appreciate the life-changing impact that it will have. To put it bluntly, nearly everyone has no clue what’s coming.
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts in Web3 is the metaverse. It is a concept that has been ridiculed just like the “World Wide Web” before it. Yet, the metaverse is merely a term that reflects a future iteration of the internet. Let me explain.
A Generational Technological Shift Upon Us
The internet is a massive collection of interconnected computers that can be easily explored through a centralized set of navigation tools and standardized address schemas. Web3 is the next generation of the internet.
We are in the early stages of transforming the back and front end of the internet into something much more powerful and meaningful. The ultimate goal is to mirror our offline experience in an online format.
Undeniably, the current iteration of the internet delivers a digital experience that is convenient and efficient but at a cost that most people don’t realize. Yes — it provided streamlined communication. However, it simultaneously disconnected us from our family and friends.
Case in point, our children no longer talk to each other and instead choose to communicate through texts, apps, emojis, and GIFs. We stopped printing pictures to decorate our homes with curated collections for our visitors to enjoy. Instead, we post them on social media, chronicling our lives for our followers to consume at their leisure.
Even the digital shopping experience is flat and more akin to the days when people browsed the Sears Roebuck catalog that they received in the snail mail. Intimate connections with people and experiences are rapidly disappearing in this vacuum.
The metaverse promises to move us forward by bringing it all back!
Recreating The Offline Experience Online
Let’s go back to the digital shopping experience for a brief moment. When you shop on Amazon for a TV, you’re browsing a digital version of a printed catalog you would have formerly received in the mail or newspaper.
The difference is that it can be updated instantly and is integrated with social media features that allow you to see what other people think about it. Moreover, it is connected with ecommerce tools that enable you to instantly consume what you want rather than placing a phone order or visiting a store.
Shop Instacart for groceries, and you’re essentially doing the same thing — scrolling through a dynamic two-dimensional digital catalog to pick out foodstuffs. With the metaverse, that experience will be relegated to the past, delivering all of the positive aspects of visiting a physical store without the inconvenience.
The first phase of the metaverse involves reconstructing the web from a flat two-dimensional experience into an immersive, interactive three-dimensional experience that resembles a massive multiplayer video game like Fortnite.
Instead of scrolling through a digital catalog to buy your groceries, you will enter a supermarket with an avatar representing your identity. That avatar will be pushing a digital cart down the aisles as you pick up food items, examine them, and deposit them in your cart before moving on to the next aisle.
The new customer journey will resemble the real-world experience of shopping that is threatened with extinction by Web2. The metaverse allows us to reclaim our past while still preserving the efficiencies powered by the internet, like dynamic content, ensuring we see the latest products as soon as they arrive instead of awaiting the next catalog in the mail.
Back To The Future
Phase two of the metaverse is a few years away and will take us even further into our past. In the next version, avatars and the cartoonish objects of today’s metaverse experience will be replaced with virtual reality.
You will put on a VR headset before entering a virtual supermarket and walking down virtual aisles that look and feel like you are actually there. Consider the Zoom experience that is quickly replacing phone calls and in-person meetings. The metaverse will bring you closer to the real world in a digital format.
Still, like any progressive technology, some externalities present challenges. For instance, when you can experience reality virtually, why leave your home? Today, the internet makes shopping more efficient because it’s quicker and cheaper than going into a store.
The tradeoff as you forego the experience that traditional merchandising delivers — the curated visual and tactile experiences. Furthermore, you lose the sensation created from being in a crowd experiencing the reality as you.
Movie theatres and sports venues still exist for that very reason. Being surrounded by people in the same venue amplifies the sensations enveloping our experiences. If the metaverse solves this missing link in Web 2, reality as we now know it will be replaced by its virtual counterpart and deliver everything but the physical act of walking through the store.
Now, let’s return from the metaverse store to our virtual home in the metaverse. Instead of sharing your life linearly on social media, you’ll be able to invite people into your home and offer a curated experience, sharing your life in an immersive format that mimics someone visiting your offline reality.
This is just a glimpse of what the future of the metaverse will provide from a front-end perspective. For just a second, consider the benefits of community-based ownership and governance models, trustless transactions, transparency, and so much more underpinning this from the back-end. Although metaverse technologies applied to the front-end of user experiences exhibit so much unrealized potential, more lies beneath the surface, just like an iceberg.
I’ll share more about this in my next article exploring the metaverse’s underbelly.
Dan Nissanoff is a startup technology entrepreneur. He has founded leading companies in Web1, 2 and 3, and is currently the CEO of Game of Silks (silks.io) a derivative metaverse porting the thoroughbred horse racing industry into web3.
How The Metaverse Promises The Real World Experience The World Wide Web Shunned was originally published in Entrepreneur’s Handbook on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.