Bankwest tests new wearable payment technology

Sally McMullen 4 September 2017 NEWS

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400 staff members are trialling one of three different wearable payment technologies.

Bankwest is dipping its toe into the pool of contactless payments technologies by trialling three new wearable payment technologies. The bank has enlisted 400 staff members to test three different types of wearable payment technology.

The technology involves the near field communications (NFC) microchips used in Bankwest's credit and debit card products repurposed into a key ring fob, a fitness-style wristband and a clip that you can attach to a wristband or watchband and use for contactless payments. The wearable tech is linked to the participant’s Bankwest transactional or debit card and for 12 weeks, they’re encouraged to use their wearable wallets to make everyday purchases.

The volunteers have also been asked to document their experience and provide thorough feedback. This feedback will be analysed alongside data on how the volunteers used the new tech in conjunction with the contactless feature on their existing debit or credit cards and mobile wallets.

The trial is part of Bankwest's attempt to adapt and create technologies that suit their customers' changing payment needs.

“We think we’ll see people starting to adapt to whatever comes to hand most easily,” said Bankwest’s managing director Rowan Munchenberg.

“If they’re buying petrol and have their keys in their hand, they may well pay with their key fob. If they’re out for a run and stop for a drink, they could swipe their wristband. The technology is just as secure as in people’s cards; it’s just in a different form,” he added.

The ideal outcome is to launch a range of wearable payment options for customers, but there is no confirmation that the trial will result in any new products.

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Trial participant Monique Fan using her wearable payment tech.

Although the idea evolved from a Bankwest hack day pitch, this wearable tech isn’t the first of its kind on the market. At the beginning of the year, we saw Aussie startup Inamo partner with Visa to launch its WaveShades (NFC-enabled sunglasses that you can use to make payments) as well as the Inamo Curl (a prepaid NFC chip that you can attach to your watch band, wristband or key ring).

In March, Westpac employees also tested a NFC-enabled wristband that was linked to their debit or credit card account and could be used to make contactless payments.

As Australians become less reliant on cash, it’s only natural that we see more payment institutions investing in new payment technologies. Just today, ANZ announced that it's the first Australian bank to launch voice authentication technology for mobile payments. See our guide on ways you didn't know you could tap and pay for more payment innovations.

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Picture: Shutterstock and Bankwest

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