Although it lacks an LED display, a fancy mobile operating system or a powerful CPU, Swatch’s analog watch will feature pay-by-the-wrist payments. The company explained that its soon-to-be released timepiece has an integrated near field communication (NFC) chip that allows users to make contactless payments.
The new watch, which is called Bellamy, will hit the stores in the first months of 2016. But the idea of a pay-by-the-wrist contacless payment was announced long ago when Swatch unveiled a partnership with VISA for the U.S.
The Bellamy watch will allow its owners to pay via contactless technology in every store that has a POS terminal. But the watch’s maker declined to give more details on how exactly that may happen. It declined to tell whether it would be linked to a bank account. It only said that the new device would be similar to a prepaid bankcard.
Yet, because it doesn’t have the integrated sensors a smartwatch usually has, some people may be concerned about the watch’s security. Plus, Swatch didn’t provide any details on method of authentication. This means that anybody else who has the watch can make contactless payments without the need to authorize those payments such as in Apple Pay, which has a Touch ID confirmation.
Nevertheless, the issue is a reason of concern in contacless credit and debit cards, as well. And the idea of a regular watch to have a smart feature on board may entice those customers that do not want a smartwatch on their wrist to actually buy it.
Swatch unveiled that the NFC chip does not draw energy from the device’s battery, so contactless payments won’t drain out the watch’s battery life. Apple’s smartwatch, iPhone 6 and 6S, and some Android handsets also have a NFC chip that allows payments to occur when the devices are tapped against special card readers.
The device was first launched in China a couple of months ago, where various models sell for nearly $90 per piece.
We do not yet know the price of the U.S. model, but rumors have it that it would be more convenient than the Apple Watch.
The Swatch-Visa agreement was announced last week when the two companies said that cardholders would be allowed to make contactless payments with the new watch. The device will soon be rolled out in the U.S., Switzerland and Brazil.
The watch was named after Edward Bellamy, and American author which dreamed about a future in which there would be no cash but credit cards.
Image Source: Fortune