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How wearable technology has changed banking practice

The times they are a changing. If you haven’t heard of wearable or nearable technology, it is time to do some research. This is technology that is changing the way we live our lives and do business with each other. 

You may know about wearable technology from the myriad of people wearing a Fitbit, Jawbone or Vivofit to monitor their day-to-day activity. What you may not know is how wearables are changing the way we bank.

Juniper Research estimated that retail revenue from wearable technology could reach as much as US$19 billion by 2018, up from US$1.4 billion in 2013. It seems that payments provide the next frontier for wearable technology. Imagine how much more liquid your business could be with the immediacy that wearable technology can bring to you.

Smart watches including the current Samsung Galaxy Gear or the Apple Watch are at the forefront of contactless communication technology. Where the smartphone is now your wallet, in future what is on your wrist will provide a level of ingenuity and functionality that ten years ago we could only dream of.

Smartwatch and other wearable technologies are currently being trialled for making payments and combining biometric information for authentication. For instance Canadian technology company Nymi has developed a wristband that uses a person’s heartbeat for identification. They are trialling a pilot program for biometrically authenticated payments in Canada through local bank RBC and MasterCard.

Meanwhile at the touch of a 150-pound LG “G” smartwatch, the UK Nationwide Building society has enabled customers to check their balances at the touch of an app button. PayPal has sped up its adoption of wearable devices and supports Pebble, Android Wear and Samsung Gear smartwatch platforms.  The future is seamless payment experiences, combining data with location to enhance the notifications process. Singapore consumers can use Near Field Communication to initiate payments after connecting to an Android or iPhone mobile terminal through Bluetooth technology through a Sharkey.

Watchdata Technologies is behind the Sharkey and is partnering with groups like EZ-Link, EMKA Group and China UnionPay to provide contactless payments. Nearables or beacon technology is also changing the landscape. A trial by St George Bank has seen Apple iBeacon devices installed in three bank branches, to send welcome messages and tailored information to customers.

The way nearable or beacon technology works is that through low-power transmitters based on Bluetooth low-energy connections, businesses can identify and communicate with consumers over a very short range, such as when they walk into a store.

The technologies that are changing the way we bank and transact are staggeringly good. In fact technological innovation is now so advanced that it is an exciting time for all who are involved in the business and finance industry. Future opportunities seem limitless.

Ready to dip your toes into a new type of finance? Contact us to find out more.

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