The FinTech Style Guide: Payment Wearables

Cash is so last century. The future is paying for your latte macchiato with your wedding ring/bracelet/shirt cuff. The future is thrusting your finger/wrist/wrist in the direction of the startled cashier, when he/she blithely asks you if you would like to pay through cash or card. The future is here, you could be wearing it.

What’s a payment wearable? In this case, we’re talking about a technology you can: 1) wear, and 2) pay for things with.

I see. So, dual function accessories? Precisely.

Like Oddjob’s hat. A stylish piece of headwear suited to sophisticated society and a deadly piece of weaponry suited to chopping down ones enemies. Not quite. No one, thus far, has had the vision to plant a NFC chip in a bowler hat. We may well have stumbled upon a gap in the market.

So what have the payment powers planted NFC chips in, thus far? An excellent question, let’s start with shirts. Cambridge-based designers DressCode have produced their Cash Cuff shirt, which comes fully equipped with an NFC chip strategically placed in – you guessed it – the cuff. 

Sounds like a rather dashing garment. You bet. If you demand advanced technological capabilities in your clothes, look no further.

What if I demand advanced technological capabilities in my jewellery? You could follow in the footsteps of one intuitive chap who dissolved his credit card to make a contactless wedding ring.

How romantic. A real Romeo. 

What would I need to make my own contactless wedding ring…? I’m asking for a friend. It’s very simple. Get yourself some acid, acetone to be specific. 

This is beginning to sound a bit Breaking Bad. Don’t worry; we’re not dissolving any rival cartel drug barons. 

Ah, good. We’re dissolving the card around the NFC chip – which apparently is unaffected by acetone acid. 

Right. Then all you need is a 3-D printer, a soldering iron, and resin… all of which you're sure to find lying around any standard family home.

So simple. Exactly. You’d have to be living in the 1950s not to have a 3-D printer knocking around somewhere in your living room.

But, say I want to cobble one of these things together on a whim when I’m round at my grandparents’ house? Your grandparents don’t have a 3-D printer?

No. Well there’s a few premade payment rings on the market you could pick up.

And if I want something with more of a… technological teenager sort of feel? Look no further than any of the number of payment bracelets on the market?

What about anklets? Don’t be so silly.

But what about something to wear down to the local boozer? I don’t want the lads mocking me for wearing a bracelet. Well, you’re in luck. Barclaycard and Lyle & Scott have teamed up to create the Contactless Jacket. 

The perfect compromise. And you can even pay for it whilst you’re trying it on in the fitting room, with MasterCard’s Smart Mirror with payment function. The mirror recognises the product in the fitting room, and you can pay via an app. 

No more of that old fashioned taking the jacket off and paying for it like a normal person. The future is here. You’re wearing it. 


Register for FinTech Connect on 3–4 December at ExCeL, London.

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