Wallets could soon be redundant

Wallets and purses may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Bankwest has begun a 400-person trial of wearable payment technology as it examines the way contactless payments will evolve.

Over 12 weeks, each willing participant will use either a key fob, fitness-style wristband or a clip attached to their own watch strap to make their everyday purchases.

Bankwest Managing Director Rowan Munchenberg says the move is a positive and bold test of new technology.

“We’re really excited by where this toe in the water trial could take us. We need to continually evolve and adapt to meet the quickly changing needs of our customers,” Mr Munchenberg said.

“Our customers’ lives are so varied and so we need to look at offering a range of payment methods that fit their lifestyles. Students, self-employed, retirees, regional or metro – there really can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach anymore.

“We’ve already launched mobile payments with Android PayTM and we’re keen to explore other new products and ways of doing things. We can then learn from those experiments to see what really can make things easier for our customers.”

The trial is the result of one of Bankwest’s regular hack days, at which employees brainstorm new and novel solutions to provide better experiences for customers.

The trial’s volunteer participants will provide detailed feedback on their experience of the wearable technology.

Behind the scenes, the bank will also gather data on how people used the new tech in conjunction with the contactless feature on their existing debit and credit cards and phones.

“We think we’ll see people starting to adapt to whatever comes to hand most easily,” said Mr Munchenberg.

“If they’re buying petrol and have their keys in their hand they may well pay with their key fob. If they are 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.

At the trial’s conclusion, the data and feedback will be analysed with a view to offering customers wearable devices that meet their individual needs and preferences in the future.

What do you think? Would you ever do away with cash and credit cards and adopt wearable payment technology?

Written by Ben

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