The New Normal – Mobile Payments via Wearable Tech

Wearables are capable of doing more than displaying smartphone notifications and tracking how many steps you took today. A growing number of wearables are adding features like contactless payments as well. There are a lot of big companies betting on the future of wearable payment technology.

In a study from Juniper Research they found that the global value of mobile and wearable contactless payments is expected to reach $95 billion annually by 2018. Meanwhile, Gartner anticipates that by 2018 half of all consumers in mature markets will use smartphones or wearables for mobile payments.

And, though it may feel a little strange to understand those analytical studies — they really shouldn’t be that surprising.

Thanks to near field communications (NFC) technology, contactless payments have already become a reality for smartphone users.

While it’s too early to name a leader in wearable payment technology, here is are the top players who are paving the way for wearable payment technology.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch needs no introduction, of course. It is capable of contactless payments through its mobile wallet Apple Pay, thanks to NFC technology. This means that you can add a credit, debit, or prepaid card onto your Apple Pay digital wallet and then simply use your wrist to make payments through your Apple Watch.

Apple Pay isn’t accepted at every retailer, yet, but millions of stores are already on-board. You can find a full list of available retailers and online businesses who accept this technology by visiting the Apple’s site.

Samsung Gear G3

Similar to the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear G3 relies on contactless payments its mobile wallet Samsung Pay. Like Apple Pay, you add a card onto your Samsung Pay wallet and then you can start using the Gear G3 to make payments.

Unlike Apple, Samsung Pay is compatible with all Android devices. And, most importantly, because it uses both NFC and magnetic secure transmission (MST) to transmit payment information, Samsung Pay is almost accepted anywhere.

Jawbone UP4

This fitness tracker not only records your activity 24/7 and monitors your heartbeat, it also supports contactless payments by partnering with American Express. When you go to make a purchase with your wrist, your Amex card is authorized through the Jawbone app

Nymi Band

The Nymi Band is still a work in progress because the device is currently being developed and tested. However, this band has already been backed by MasterCard. This partnership should allow you to use the Nymi Band at any NFC-enabled register that accepts mobile payments. This would be done by using your MasterCard account. The most promising feature with this band is that it uses biometrics as a security precaution by using your heartbeat to authorize transactions.

The Alipay Pay Watch

Alipay, which is a part of the eCommerce site, Alibaba in China, has teamed-up with FiiSmart – a Chinese wearable brand. Together they’ve created a contactless mobile payment system called the Pay Watch. The Pay Watch is powered by custom version of Android called YunOS. Payments can be completed in just one second. The companies plan to expand into the U.S. and UK in the very near future.

Lyle & Scott bPay Jacket

What comes to mind when you think of wearables? Probably a smartwatch or fitness tracker. However, not all wearable tech is on your wrist. The Lyle & Scott bPay Jacket contains an NFC chip inside the right-hand sleeve. Once you link the chip to your bPay account you can pay for things. Start by swiping your right-hand over the payment system.

PayCapsule Flex

The PayCapsule Flex band from on track innovations (oti) uses NFC technology and is a waterproof secure element that can be your “credit card” and even your ID card. It can be encapsulated into a fashion garment or wearable accessory. It’s small enough to fit into a wristband, a cuff or even a ring jewelry. It’s compatible with debit, credit, and e-purse applications.

Ringly

Ringly offers bracelets and rings that connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Besides receiving mobile notifications and tracking your activity, it can also be used to make contactless payments through a partnership with MasterCard.

Other Wearables

These are just some of the wearable payment technologies available. There’s also the Sony Wena, Swatch Touch Zero One, and the Microsoft Band 2. And, after acquiring the mobile payment solution Coin, Fitbit is also in position to enter the wearable payment technology market as well.

We can expect to see more and more wearable payment options in the future.