Second generation Near Field Communication (NFC) chips have moved wearable form factors to a new level. The days of having to wear smartwatch to make a contactless payment or evening having the card to swipe has changed.
Expresspay Card, a joint venture between China UnionPay and Bank of China that offers China’s only open loop prepaid card, has partnered with Tappy Technologies and watch brand Saga Watch to offer cardholders a wearable payments option that will be accepted at any merchant equipped to accept China UnionPay contactless payments.
“Tappy will also provide owners of the new watches with a mobile wallet they can use to top up their prepaid balance using any UnionPay debit or credit card.” The new Saga Watch Pay range will be available in time for the 2019/20 holiday season with prices starting at around US$100.
With this advancement, a number of items could be made into wearables utilizing a new chip that does not need to be charged, unlike smartwatches with payment functionality. Instead of caring a card, a chip is embedded into the wearable object, in this case specifically into the watch band.
Saga CEO Eddie Leung added: “The highlight of the new collection from Saga Pay enables non-chargeable devices like traditional timepieces to be used in most major fast food and convenience stores and across China’s public transit system.” Additional watch brands are expected to use Tappy’s technology to enable consumers to make Expresspay Card wearable payments “soon”, Tappy’s Wayne Leung said.
The open-loop prepaid card that is used to fund the wearable offers the ability to have up to 10 connected devices, which provides consumers a choice on which wearable they choose to take with them on a daily basis. Unlike smartwatches or smartphones which are the most common form factor you could have several watches, key fobs, or rings the list is endless but the best part is they do not need to be charged.
Overview by Sue Brown, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group