Wearable Tech That Will Change How Customers Pay
It isn’t enough that customers are already paying using their smartphones: Small businesses now must prepare to accept payments from accessories that customers will be wearing on their body. The introduction of smart watches, bracelets and even rings means it will soon be more important than ever for businesses to have a point of sale (POS) system that includes near-field communication (NFC) technology—and it will need to be installed in a place that’s easily accessible when waving a range of devices. Here are a few of the biggest upcoming developments in wearable payment technology.
The smartwatch war is officially on, with brands like Apple, Samsung, and Pebble vying to win the market. At its recent Spring Forward event, Apple’s Tim Cook demonstrated how the Apple Watch will be used to pay for products, as well as bypass the front desk at hotels, acting as a guest’s room key. This illustrates the importance of businesses being prepared to take the technology far beyond the cash register.
Wristbands and Bracelets
Barclaycard is currently testing a wristband in London that will allow wearers to pay without a card. If the trial goes well, it will be rolled out across England by next year. In addition to paying at the cash register, these wristbands will allow customers to pay for public transportation. Here in America, Disney offers the beginnings of this technology through its MagicBands that allow visitors to access rides, hotel rooms, and park entrances through a wristband.
While Google Glass hasn’t exactly gone mainstream, tech companies are already finding ways to implement payments into the device. One company is beta-testing a technology that will allow customers to “nod to pay” with Bitcoin. As wallets become more closely integrated with wearables, Google Glass and competing companies will likely find ways to allow payment via eyewear.
Even consumers who rarely wear jewelry will wear a ring, making it a great platform for wearable technology. With the NFC Ring, a user can unlock his phone, transfer information, lock and unlock a door, and control applications. While the ring can’t currently be used to make payments, it’s likely only a matter of time before it will be. If a bracelet can be used to interact with a smartphone and store health data and payment information, that same technology could easily be transferred to a ring.
With the implementation of payments, wearables would allow consumers to load multiple credit cards, with the technology adjustable to user preferences. A device owner could instruct a wearable to automatically select the card that will earn the most rewards at a given location, for instance, or set preferences to choose the card that has the lowest fees for certain purchases. Whatever form this technology will take, it’s important that businesses prepare for it by having NFC-capable systems in place.
Ramon is a small business evangelist at Infusionsoft, publisher of Smart Hustle Magazine, and blogs about technology and small business at smallbiztechnology.com. He is passionate about helping small business entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Ramon is a bestselling author, journalist and freelance writer, and a frequent event producer, speaker and host. His third book is the Amazon.com bestseller, Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing. Ramon has shared the stage with Seth Godin, Daymond John, Guy Kawasaki, Simon Sinek, JJ Ramberg, Peter Shankman and other celebrity entrepreneurs. He interviewed President Obama in the President’s first live Google Hangout. See Ramon’s full bio at www.ramonray.com, and follow him on Twitter at @ramonray.