With online banking and one-tap payments made readily available through Apple Pay or Square Cash, more instances of the digital wallet are popping up with every purchase. We can buy lunch at Whole Foods without having to grab cash or reach for our credit card and we can transfer funds to a friend in less than one second. But even mobile transactions present the opportunity for lag time, especially when stores are busy and shopping lines are long.
To combat the holiday queues in the UK, Barclaycard trialled a warmer fashion in wearable technology. With a pair of wool, touchscreen enabled gloves customers could “wave and pay” to make transactions. The high-tech gloves are embedded with a bPay contactless chip, a function that replaces the need for a physical credit or debit card. Users simply tap a contactless- enabled terminal to make a transaction which then processes with the owner’s bank.
The innovative banking process came about as a direct result of consumer feedback. In a survey conducted by Barclaycard of 2,000 shoppers, people voted gloves as the most popular wearable technology of their preference. Voters requested that smart gloves, followed after by rings and bracelets, be created to make Christmas shopping more convenient.
Shoppers believed that a pair of gloves would ease the burden of holiday chaos in malls and shops by cutting the wait time of lines. Advanced technology protects shoppers against fraud and only allow for transactions to be made up to £20. For customers who carry a number of shopping bags, the ease of contactless gloves proved to enable faster and secure payments. The experiment speaks volumes for alternative payment methods, seeing as customers are able to bypass their wallets and smart devices altogether.
Over 300,000 various retailers around the UK trailed the prototype throughout the holiday season. The results offered Barclaycard consumer feedback to develop an improved tap and pay banking experience in the future.