Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL), headquartered in Bangladesh, has introduced a suite of wearable payment devices branded as WEAREBL.
According to The Daily Star, the bank worked with Mastercard and Visa on the wearable devices, which include a ring, a phone holder, a wristband, and a compact portable fob sleeve. These devices will contain a near-field communication chip that will allow users to make contactless payments.
WEAREBL represents an exciting development in the fintech industry. By combining wearable technology with contactless payments, EBL is paving the way for a new era of financial transactions. Historically, contactless payments work long-term when the wearable technology it is tied to has functionality on its own. And it seems likely that WEAREBL will partner with other technology companies to create multipurpose devices in the future.
Are Wearables Making a Comeback?
Transacting via wearables isn’t anything new—let’s not forget Google Glass’ “Nod to Pay” feature, which was released in 2017. But this global trend towards contactless payments, particularly via a wearable device, can be attributed to the pandemic, as well as the popularity of devices such as Apple Watch.
Wearable payment technology is a competitive market. Last year, more than 100 million people were reported wearing an Apple Watch, and Google’s Fitbit—which has a built-in NFC chip—had roughly 120 million registered users as of 2022. That’s a good target audience for many banks and financial institutions.
While these devices are used for a variety of reasons—monitoring steps, observing health patterns, paying for goods—it’s the latter that’s been getting a lot more focus lately, particularly because of convenience.
And many brands and financial institutions are looking to capitalize on the potential opportunities. For example, Lyle & Scott teamed up with Barclays to launch a contactless payment jacket powered by bPay, Barclay’s cashless payment system. The Contactless Jacket features an NFC chip that’s hidden in the cuff of the right sleeve, and allows customers to purchase items on the go in the UK.