Wearables are moving towards the masses. After a few years of being restricted to the early adopters (consumers who like to try out new technologies, and hence who are great allies in the innovation process), the launch of the devices has generated lessons learned for the financial market, which is now investing in their use on a larger scale.
The focus of wearables as a payment method for this first generation of users was to prove that the consumer didn’t need a wallet or a cell phone to make secure, automated payments. Mission accomplished. The next generation will demand creativity and convergence from the industry.
The purchasing experience should be simple, quick and intuitive, as should authentication and identification of fraud. Users want uncomplicated commercial transactions, but with the ability to control their purchases, and with functions that empower them with the choice of where, how and how much to consume – through apps and the use of “Data Intelligence.”
Wearable devices should offer functionalities that ensure such conveniences and services, which the final consumer expects.
The technology for digital payment (with the evolution of digital banks, blockchain and beacons) and the Internet of Things, together with the adoption of cognitive artificial intelligence, evolve to contribute towards the improvement of these users’ perceptions and experiences. The key to this new payment method becoming integrated into people’s daily lives, and being used over the medium and long term, will be consumers’ positive experiences.
Merchants are ready
Most card machines in Brazil already make use of NFC (near-field communication) technology, which allows for the exchange of data between the wearable and the transaction network. In practice, this means that merchants are already ready to accept payment via wearables. The trend is for digital currencies to become more and more accepted, since by nature, they are designed to have more interoperability than traditional money.
Whether digital currencies end up replacing cards (just as cards replaced bills and coins), time will tell. The fact is that with digitalization on the upswing, wearables are a latent opportunity.