Barclays Hides Payments Up Its Sleeve by Selling a Banking Jacket

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Barclays is attempting a diverse range of tactics to move customers beyond plastic cards, with its latest attempt being a "fashionable" jacket that's linked to the wearer's bank account.

Barclays hired Scottish knitwear brand Lyle & Scott to design a jacket to hold the bank's contactless bpay technology. Barclays, which is marketing the jackets as a fashion statement, is selling the garments for about $220, which the bank notes is less than the cost of an Apple Watch

The London-based bank's other forays into wearables include its bPay contactless wristband, gloves, stickers and a donkey's saddle.

The jacket has a contactless payments chip and antenna embedded into the sleeve, which allows customers to execute payments by brushing their wrists against Visa payWave terminals.

As unusual as it sounds, Barclays is not the only financial company using fashion to sell wearable computing. Visa is collaborating with designer Henry Holland to showcase payments fashions this month at London's Fashion week.

The concept is similar to the high-tech hockey jersey that NCR Corp. made for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011. The jersey included a contactless chip that communicated with the arena's payment terminals to give wearers discounts on concession purchases.

Other companies that have experimented with payment-enabled wearables (usually wristbands) include Walt Disney Co., CaixaBank and TD Bank.

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