Spain’s Caixa Bank plans to distribute 15,000 contactless wristbands that will allow users to make faster and more convenient Visa payments.
The bank claims that the roll-out of wearable payment devices is the largest of its kind in Europe, allowing customers to purchase goods at up to 300,000 businesses within Spain.
The wristband contains a ‘microtag’ with the user’s encrypted card details, and allows transactions to be made with the same level of security offered as normal EMV cards. It is used in the same manner as existing contactless cards, with a customer tapping the wristband against a Visa-enabled point of sale device.
The wristband enables the user to make purchases of up to €20, with greater sums requiring the user to enter a PIN number.
In the UK, Barclays has launched a similar initiative, though on a smaller scale, with around 7,000 consumers able to try out the bPay band at a number of events this summer, ahead of a full rollout in 2015.
Caixa Bank has been at the forefront of development of wearable technologies with the financial sector, developing a range of consumer apps for use with Sony smartwatches and Google Glass.
Other financial services firms have also embraced the trend for wearable devices, which, according to analysts at IDC, is set to boom in coming years, growing by 78 percent a year until 2018.
PayPal has already developed an Android Wear smartwatch app, for example, while, 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.
According to TechMarketView financial services analyst, Peter Roe, a payments capability is a “logical component of any multi-function device”, and the potential for greater uptake of wearable devices will spur further interest in sector.
“Although trials may be limited and the rate of adoption uncertain, companies in the payments business, and their suppliers, need to have a strategy, because progress is being made,” he said.