Major UK bank Barclays is getting serious about wearable technology applications as it experiments with contactless ‘tap and pay’ gloves.
The idea is that shoppers need not put down various bags in search of a purse or wallet, even phone, in order to make their payments across the counter.
It is equipped with an electric chip linked to the credit and/or debit card of the user, and at the moment permits payments of up to £20. Barclays is currently trialling a prototype which it hopes will be available for use in late 2015.
Nationwide recently launched an app for smartwatches which allows customers to view balances on their watch if they are synched with the mobile app.
Barclays has said that the chip in the gloves could be integrated into other items of clothing, begging the question of where the limit should be placed on this type of payment technology.
Barclaycard originally considered creating tap and pay bracelets, handbags, hats or even elbow pads but the glove is the focus for the time being, with the bank development different models for men and women, and even considering making it available to customers from other lenders.
Will this spell the end of chip and pin?
Whether the product will grow to be a staple in the wearable tech arena remains to be seen, for some immediate questions can raise doubts. For instance, the first thing many shoppers do on entering a store is remove gloves, while most of the year it is warm enough to go without gloves entirely.
There is also the concern with contactless that people may end up accidentally paying for things they did not intend to buy, or at least the fear that this could happen.
One thing is more certain, and that is that wearables will be a trend to keep an eye out for in 2015.