Oct 16, 2015
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Aesthetics and practicality, Visa and Central Saint Martins on wearable payments

Oct 16, 2015

Visa Premier worked in association with Central Saint Martins School to imagine what so-called wearable payment devices could look like in 2020.

The objective is to combine aesthetics with practicality. As Visa Europe has already announced, in 2019 payment terminals will become widely compatible with contactless technology in all European retail outlets. It's the opportunity for Visa to devise wearable payment devices by 2020.

The 'Small Change' concept

Nick Mackie, in charge of contactless payments at Visa Europe, explained: "While payment digitalisation continues to advance, contactless functions extend rapidly from cards to other types of devices. European users are actually among the first to adopt these new technologies. We see a huge potential in the domain of payments made through wearable devices, which are fast gaining ground especially with Y Generation technophiles. Wearables incorporate all the advantages of contactless payment: speed, ease and practicality.'

The 'Budgeteer' concept

The study generated three concepts developed by Gareth Ladley and Marta Monge, 2015 graduates of the Master of Industrial Design programme, and by Marina Mellado, Maxime Moreaux and Bronka de Sage, who are currently following the same programme. Under the creative direction of Silas Grant, design graduate and practitioner at Central Saint Martins.

The first concept is labelled  'Small Change'. The imagined wearable device looks like a watch and allows users to replace small coins by storing them on the device via an electronic ink screen which displays the amount available on the user's account.

The 'Thread' concept

The 'Budgeteer' concept is also wrist-held and allows the user to categorise their expenses, distinguishing between travel, personal and home expenses through the colours the user will find on the online account. Here the object's design appeal lies in the visibility of electronic circuitry.

Finally, the 'Thread' concept is more like a futuristic fidelity card, in the shape of a brooch and connected with an augmented reality application. The objective is to identify people equipped with the device, and to view and rate their purchases. The more positive ratings users will collect, the more benefits they'll receive from brands in the form of discount vouchers, private sales, etc.

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