Payments are proving to be an enticing use case for wearable computing, drawing the attention of companies as varied as amusement parks, banks and phone manufacturers.
The newest entrant, Singapore-based Watchdata Technologies, has released Sharkey, a line of smartwatch and wristbands that use Near Field Communication to initiate payments after connecting to an Android or iPhone mobile terminal through Bluetooth Low Energy. The smartwatch operates through an embedded secure element.
Watchdata is partnering with EZ-Link, EMKA Group and China UnionPay to provide contactless payments in Singapore. Users can pay for bus and subway tickets, groceries and micropayments through a China UnionPay account.
Consumers can add to their accounts online and check transaction history and balances in real time. Sharkey also provides calls, messages and task reminder functions through a G-Sensor, which also provides step-tracking for walkers and runners.
Sharkey is a fashionable wearable device supporting secure payment, and sport management, specifically designed by Watchdata for those who commute every day and love exercising," Jack Pan, vice president of international business development and marketing for Watchdata, said in a press release.
Wearable technology developers are taking a shine to payments, with Disney and RBC developing apps. Apple Pay got much of the immediate attention when Apple Inc. unveiled its mobile payments plan in September, but the company also stirred interest with its entry into payment-capable wearables with Apple Watch. That smartwatch will be available to consumers early next year.
Google revealed its Android Wear smartwatch earlier this year, and PayPal Inc. was quick to introduce a payments application for the device. Florida-based Watch2Pay developed a contactless payment wristwatch more than a year ago in the U.K. market and has talked of bringing the device into the U.S. market. It has not made a big push in the U.S. as of yet, but nearly two years ago TransCard LLC was in the mix with Watch2Pay, looking to provide its bank clients with the smartwatch and accompanying MasterCard prepaid card account.