Image source: Visa

Visa developing sunglasses you can use to pay for stuff

Visa has revealed a prototype of payment-enabled sunglasses at the SXSW yesterday. The specs, which are nearly identical to their non-tech counterpart, contain an NFC chip embedded in one of the arms which is linked to the user’s Visa account. Which means, instead of taking your debit card out when you pay for goods and services, you can simply tap the payment terminal with your glasses.

“It ties back to our tagline of everywhere you want to be,” said Chris Curtin, Visa’s chief brand and innovation marketing officer, told CNBC.

“Without it it’s hard for us to fulfill our tagline. Our view is we take form factors that you don’t expect to be payment-enabled like sunglasses or maybe like a ring and expose to the market that maybe it can be.”

The glasses are not for sale yet, and Visa has only unveiled a prototype. The company may just be floating the idea right now to see whether there is demand for such a product.

Visa was the exclusive payment provider at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last year. At the time, the company unveiled the first payment wearable ring backed by a Visa account. The device was distributed to a select group of 45 athletes to use for purchases during the games. The idea was to make it as quick and easy as possible to make a payment.

Essential reading: Smart rings – jewellery that keeps you connected

There have been a number of crowdfunding projects based around developing NFC payment enabled rings in recent years. The first one to make it to market is the Kerv Ring. Initially launching in the UK at around £100, you can use the ring to make payments anywhere in the world that displays the contactless MasterCard payment symbol.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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