Barclays is preparing to tap into demand for wearables devices, with the launch of a trial of its bPay contactless wristband.
Around 7,000 consumers will be able to try out the bPay band at a number of events this summer, ahead of a full rollout in 2015. The pilot include the Wireless Festival, where attendees will be able to upload their ticket and add credit to the band, allowing them to make payments of up to £20 at a time.
Upon its full launch, the band will be available to customers of all banks for no fee, allowing contactless payments at 300,000 payments terminals.
It is not the first time that Barclaycard has announced the launch of a contactless payments wristband, with its Payband wearable device was announced in 2012. The service used the same NFC technology, though wristbands were used once and for specific events only.
A number of companies have launched wristband devices as interest in the technology has increased. This has included a range of hardware - from the fitness-related devices released by the likes of Nike, to Samsung’s Galaxy smartwatch, while the ongoing trial of Google Glass smart glasses has attracted significant attention.
According to analysts at IDC, the market for wearable devices is set to boom, with growing by 78 percent a year until 2018. This means that the number of smartwatches and related should top 19 million by the end of 2014, triple the number from last year, before reaching 112 million in 2018.
A number of banks have also begun to develop technology related to the wearable devices.
For example, Spanish lender Caixa Bank has developed a range of consumer apps for use with smartwatches and Google Glass.
Last year, the research arm of financial services firm Fidelity Investments claimed to have developed the first Google Glass app targeted specifically at investors and traders.
Speaking to ComputerworldUK at a recent event, Barclays said that the bank has no firm plans to develop for Google Glass at the moment.