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product technology

bPay partners with seven watch brands to introduce contactless payments

bPay contactless payment technology
bPay contactless payment technology

bPay, the wearable technology solution from Barclays bank, has announced partnerships with seven watch brands – GUESS Watches, Mondaine, Timex, Kronaby, Suunto, ADEXE and LBS – to embed payment technology into traditional timepieces and fitness trackers.

The new watches will be showcased at this year’s watch and jewellery trade show, Baselworld, this week in Switzerland.

Launches include six new contactless watches by Guess; eight new styles for both men and women from Timex; LBS will be launching the ‘TapStrap’, a contactless payment strap that can be fitted to any watch with the most common strap sizes; and Suunto, which specializes in sports watches, will create a bPay-enhanced fitness style launching this spring.

“Consumer appetite for wearable payments is reaching critical mass, and we’re proud to be meeting this growing demand with the help of our industry-leading partners,” says Adam Herson, business development director of Barclays Mobile Payments. “Thanks to the range of products these agreements will bring to market, customers will be able to buy a watch or fitness tracker that not only suits their taste, but also unlocks benefits of speed and ease in everyday purchases.”

Recent data from Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index shows that spending via bPay surged by 129% year-on-year in 2017. The company claims ‘touch and go’ contactless payments save seven seconds per transaction when compared to chip and PIN.

Since 2015, bPay has been patterning with then UK-based fashion brands on bringing payment technology to accessories, such as launching a line of accessories with Topshop. For more on payment technology, listen to our episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast with Alipay’s Souheil Badran.

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Editor's pick technology

British consumers are ready and eager for in-store tech, according to Barclays

in-store tech
The Barclays New Retail Reality report shows investing in tech in-store would give high street retailers a further boost

British shoppers now expect stores to be tech-enabled with an array of features like smart fitting rooms and virtual reality, according to the Barclays New Retail Reality report.

Its study of 2,000 consumers, reveals that 65% of shoppers are eager to see more touchscreen technology, while newer, more experiential technologies are popular too. Shoppers are more likely to visit a store kitted out with virtual reality (57%), smart fitting rooms (57%) or augmented reality (52%).

In addition, while the appetite for the use of drones in retail is muted, with around two-thirds of shoppers citing worries about security, privacy and collisions, new payment technologies can’t come fast enough. They’re highly rated by consumers, with many describing contactless (48%) and mobile payments (37%) as “life changing”.

In another technological shift, shoppers are now five times more likely to use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to complain about a product than they were three years ago. And they want a quick response when they complain, with one in three (38%) expecting a complaint made via social media responded to within an hour.

Londoners are keenest about new retail technologies, closely followed by those in the North West. Respondents from this region are among the country’s most eager for biometric payments, mobile payments, smart fitting room and touchscreen technologies in stores.

Shoppers in Manchester are especially keen to trial virtual reality technologies in-store, even more so than those in London. In addition, although appetite for drone delivery services is more muted overall, shoppers in London and Northern Ireland are most eager for the introduction of them.

Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: “Our research reveals that the public still sees the high street as an essential part of the shopping experience [but] consumer expectations are currently moving faster than retailer innovation.”

The research also throws up some interesting points about Brexit. Britons said they want the industry protected during Brexit negotiations. Two thirds (64%) of consumers say they’re proud of the service that UK retailers provide to society, and a similar proportion (65%) want the protection of UK retailers and goods prioritised during Brexit negotiations. Overall, however, consumers are uncertain about the impact of Brexit on retail and worry about the availability of luxury goods (42%).

A version of this post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday.

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mobile product technology

Topshop introduces second bPay wearables collection

Topshop-bpay-wearables
Topshop’s latest bPay accessories line

Topshop has launched a second collection of accessories activated for payments thanks to a partnership with Barclays’ bPay contactless technology.

Hot off the heels of its successful November iteration of bPay wearables, which featured brightly coloured pieces in a monster motif, the new items target a more luxe aesthetic.

The six-piece collection features bracelets, phone cases and robot-themed keyrings in gold metallics and faux snakeskin detailing. The price point comes in slightly higher than the original £15 by dropping stickers from the line and adding in better quality materials. For £25-£35, a shopper can pick up the new wares both in-store or online.

Each accessory holds a small bPay contactless chip, which links to a secure digital wallet. Anyone with a UK Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card (not just Barclays customers) can use it, adding funds via a mobile app or online through the bPay web portal.

The focus is on a quick purchase market – much like competitors Apple and Android Pay – accommodating transactions up to the contactless limit of £30. Keep the device topped up between £5-£200 and it will be accepted anywhere with contactless payment scanners.

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Editor's pick technology

10 wearable tech gifts for the fashionistas in your life

wearabletech_GIFTGUIDE

If the new Hermès Apple Watch is a little out of price range, but you’re after something more than the standard fitness band to fulfill your wearable tech gift giving quest this holiday, look no further…

In honour of those thinking about fashion and not just function, our Forbes round-up of 10 wearables now on the market, is well worth checking out. Ranging from Everpurse x Kate Spade New York, to Altruis, The Unseen and Topshop x bPay, they not only do neat things like pay for products or help charge your other devices, but look pretty good too. There’s also Unmade, Gemio, Ringly, Away, Misfit x BaubleBar and Love & Robots.

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e-commerce Editor's pick mobile technology

ICYMI: Topshop releases cute contactless payment accessories

BPAY_V1

As far as functionality goes, wearable technology that offers the ability to make payments is trending. Henry Holland launched a NFC-enabled ring in partnership with Visa; Rihanna’s favourite designer Adam Selman teamed up with MasterCard on a dress, gloves, earrings and sunglasses that could likewise make a quick and seamless payment; and now Topshop has entered the market.

One of the first to actually be available to buy, the British high street retailer has introduced a line of accessories that incorporate bPay by Barclaycard contactless payment technology. In a bid to find a solution that consumers are actually interested in using, not only do the accessories have the ability to make a purchase, but they look rather appealing for the target market in question too.

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The launch collection, which hit stores last week, sees a monster fish print on wristbands, an iPhone case and keyrings. They range in price from £15-£32. A luxe metal and snake effect design will follow later this year.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director of digital consumer payments at Barclaycard said: “[This] marks the first time that our bPay chip is being incorporated into a product range from a major fashion retailer. The collaboration shows how the worlds of fashion and technology can combine to create a stylish and easy new way for people to pay using contactless, for everyday things – be it a morning coffee, a new lipstick or a bus trip across town.”

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Each accessory holds a small bPay contactless chip, which links to a secure digital wallet. Anyone with a UK Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card (not just Barclays customers) can use it, adding funds to their digital wallet via a mobile app or online through the bPay web portal.

In September, bPay also launched a partnership with Lyle & Scott for a contactless payment jacket.