bPay teams with seven brands to launch contactless payment watches
Barclaycard’s bPay payment unit has partnered with seven watch brands “to meet growing demand for contactless payment timepieces”, the company says. These include Guess Watches, Mondaine, Timex and Kronaby.
These partnerships “will bring the power of wearable payments to style-conscious and sports enthusiast audiences”, it states.
Last year, bPay and Timex launched the “pioneering” Timex Fairfield Contactless watch. The two firms will now launch an expanded range of eight contactless-enabled watches, for both men and women.
Guess Watches will introduce a range of six contactless watches. Wearable payment strap options in silicone and leather will be matched with the brand’s bestsellers “to provide a fashionable twist on this technology”.
bPay has also joined forces with LBS, a watch strap supplier, to bring to market the “TapStrap” – a replacement strap that can be fitted to any watch with a 18mm, 20mm or 22mm strap (the most common watch strap sizes), enabling wearers to make purchases up to £30.
Meanwhile, Suunto, a Finnish manufacturer of sports watches, dive computers and sports instruments, will be broadening its offering for sports enthusiasts with a bPay-enhanced version of the Suunto 3 Fitness watch, launching later this spring.
Switzerland-based Mondaine and Sweden-based Kronaby are also developing a range of payment-enabled watches with bPay “seamlessly embedded into the strap”.
To support production of these contactless-enabled products, bPay is working with Tappy, a partner of Visa. Tappy’s production facilities are authorised to embed the bPay chip into bPay’s brand partners’ products.
These agreements come as data from Barclaycard’s latest Contactless Spending Index shows that wearable payments are surging in popularity, as spending via bPay jumped 129% year-on-year in 2017.
Adam Herson, business development director, Barclays Mobile Payments, feels “consumer appetite for wearable payments is reaching critical mass”.
“Whether buying a bottle of water when out for a run, or a newspaper on an afternoon stroll around the city, today’s shoppers are looking for ‘built-in’, seamless payment experiences,” he notes. bPay can transform any traditional timepiece into a smart device “without sacrificing style”, he adds.
Paul Martin, MD, Sequel UK Guess Watches, says the venture brings “another dimension” to the company’s range of products, “where fashion meets lifestyle functionality”.
The bPay payment chip is available to anyone with a UK-registered Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card. Users can add funds to their digital wallet “on the go” using the mobile app, online through the bPay website, or set their account to top-up automatically when their balance falls below a pre-set level.