Making a mobile payment with your smartphone meant you didn’t have to take your wallet out of your pocket. But Optus has unveiled a new payment method that now means you don’t even need to take your smartphone out of your pocket either.
It uses wearable technology and in particular – a smartwatch.
Optus has unveiled this proof of concept that allows users to make mobile payments with a smartwatch linked to an iPhone or Android smartphone using the Cash by Optus app.
The watch, connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth, can display the account balance on its screen after the transaction as well as on the linked phone.
“We see huge opportunities in the wearable market by bringing new experiences to our customers through products that combine trusted technology with lifestyle benefits,” said Ben White, Optus vice-president of mobile marketing.
“Optus’ aim is to bring contactless payments to our entire customer base across lots of platforms.”
The added convenience using a smartwatch means the process becomes a hands-free action.
Instead of reaching into your pocket for your smartphone and holding it over the terminal, a smartwatch – already conveniently located on your wrist – can be waved over the terminal even if you’re holding whatever you’re buying in your hand.
Cash by Optus was launched last year in partnership with Visa and Heritage Bank for Android users and uses NFC (near field communication) and Visa’s PayWave technology to enable the mobile payments.
Customers can top up their account to $500 at any one time and they are then able to make contactless purchases under $100 at any one of the thousands retailers that accept PayWave payments.
But iPhone users were frustrated they couldn’t use Cash By Optus because they couldn’t use NFC on their devices and the app was only available for Android users.
“The biggest frustration came from our iPhone customers who wanted to try Cash by Optus, but didn’t have a compatible phone,” Mr White said.
“That’s why we’re developing this wearable technology, which is designed to work on both Apple and Android smartphones.”
Apple has its own mobile payment system called Apple Pay which will naturally work with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
It is likely to be one of the features which can be accessed with the Apple Watch that’s due for release next month.