The worlds of wearables and mobile payments technology have been booming in the last few years, and one of the biggest names in consumer finance is doing its part to keep the party going. In a news release ahead of the big financial services conference Money 20/20, MasterCard announced a program that will bring mobile payment capabilities to an array of wearables and tech accessories.
A promo video for the program shows a woman going about her day, doing everyday things like buy a bottle of water at a cafe after going for a run, pay for metro fare and grocery shop — using a wristband, ring and key fob to pay. Like many mobile payments solutions out there, the MasterCard program seems to be selling simplicity: Rather than carry a wallet full of credit cards or cash, use other things you’ve already got on you to pay for whatever you need.
“As more and more ‘things’ become connected, consumers will have endless possibilities when it comes to how they pay, and will need all of their devices to work seamlessly together,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard, in the news release. “This program eliminates the boundaries of how we pay by delivering a secure digital payment experience to virtually anything – rings, fitness and smart bands, car key fobs, apparel, and whatever comes along next.”
MasterCard has partnered with General Motors, designer Adam Selman, wearables company Nymi, smart jewelry company Ringly and Bluetooth locator TrackR to produce its payment-enabled devices, and it will showcase prototypes at Money 20/20 (which ends Wednesday). MasterCard and its partners will roll out these products in the U.S. in 2016.
The questions with these sorts of products are often about security, reliability and acceptance. Hackers target digital payment systems to steal consumers’ money and identities, and with new data breaches making headlines on a near-weekly basis, people are reasonably concerned about adopting new payment technology.
Security worries aside, a payment gadget is only useful if merchants accept it. To avoid getting stuck in a situation where a non-traditional payment method isn’t accepted, consumers may want to keep a backup (like cash or a credit card). Of course, you also need a MasterCard credit or debit card to use these new payment methods. Getting a credit card is easier when you have good credit (though there are credit cards for people with no credit), and you can see where you stand by looking at your free credit scores every 30 days on Credit.com.
Still, it’s interesting to think you could go through a day of running errands, never take out your wallet and instead pay by tapping your necklace on a payment terminal. Would you use wearable payments? Do you already use smart cards or a smartphone to pay for things? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards with Rewards