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Wearable Payments: Fashionable Finance

Paying just gets easier, cooler, and more futuristic as the years go by.

For decades, the payment space was relatively static; people paid with plastic, cash, or the occasional check. Today, customers have a bounty of options to stylishly pay for goods and services. One option, attractive for its convenience and cool factor, is the wearable payment.

Wearable payment platforms are devices that you wear, like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, that can also be used to pay for things. They typically use NFC-reader technology, the same tech that enables payments to Apple Pay and is increasingly used in public transport and other services.

Let’s explore some of the top wearable products, why customers love them, and the risks they need to know to enjoy them safely.


Though they have been available for nearly a decade, smartwatches started to explode in popularity during the pandemic. Most popular with 25- to 44-year-olds, the market still has plenty of growth in front of it across age demographics. It is one of Americans’ favorite wearable payment options, as a user can simply hold their wrist near a payment console to complete a transaction.

Source: Coolest Gadgets

When it comes to tech in the United States, most will agree: that shiny, half-bitten apple reigns supreme. It may not surprise you that the leading smartwatch in the U.S. is the Apple Watch. Its NFC-powered payment technology is similar to the iPhone’s, allowing users to easily pay with a tap. Other smartwatches offer similar payment functionality. Most also incorporate some security features to help protect against fraud, although the devices are generally more vulnerable to other mobile payment solutions.

Fitness, Finance, and Fashion

Some wearable payment technologies combine some fitness functionality, such as heart rate monitor and pedometer, with payment integration. Sleek wristband’s function has complex health monitors, often syncing via Bluetooth to your smartphone. An attractive use case is going for a jog with only your fitness wearable, and being able to purchase a smoothie at the halfway point while monitoring your heart rate.

Some products are leaning into fashion over functions when it comes to wearable payment. Fidesmo offers understated rings and other jewelry with NFC payment as their only feature (besides looking cool).

Secure, Fast, Easy

Wearable payments are a hit for a reason. They offer an appealing purchase experience and are more secure than other payment methods when it comes to the data that customers share.


One of the greatest draws of wearable payment technology is tokenization. Tokenization adds a layer of security and anonymity to payments. Rather than sharing their credit card information with each purchase, as is the case with a regular credit card, wearable payment technology generally assigns an arbitrary token, or alphanumeric code, to the payment method.

When the customer pays, the POS system confirms that token with the bank, rather than confirming the cardholder’s name, card number, etc. The bank receives the request, references the token to the actual payment details, and approves the transaction.

By tokenizing the payment process, the cardholder greatly reduces the number of times that she has to share her credit card information with a merchant or network.

Practical, Stylish

There are certain situations where a wallet is just impractical. At a beachside bar, paying with a waterproof watch after you hop out of the water is easier and keeps your wallet dry. A sleek tap of the wrist or ring finger when discretely paying for dinner is a smoother move than fumbling in your pocket.

While not the most noble reason to use it, there is also an implied status to the payment method; it communicates that you are aware of new technologies and can afford to try them out. For these reasons, wearable payment technology has taken off over the past few years.

Security Challenges

Different wearable tech incorporates different levels of security. Apple Watch, the most popular wearable payment technology in the United States, detects when the watch separates from its owner’s skin. When the watch is taken off, the watch locks in response, requiring a code.  

Wearables that don’t incorporate security features can end up harming more than helping their customers. Tokenization helps to obfuscate actual card information, but a stolen wearable could be and has been, used to make fraudulent purchases. The first thing that Fidesmo advises if their wearables are stolen is to block payments, perhaps reflecting their vulnerability to unauthorized purchases. 

It’s important for customers to know these risks, and to choose a wearable solution that protects them from fraudsters.

COCARD: Meeting and Exceeding Market Need

We’ve said it before: this is the most exciting time to be operating in the payments space. From a new way to pay every day, to transformative payment infrastructures like blockchain and tokenization, these are unprecedented times. COCARD knows that we have to stay nimble to stay ahead, meeting and even anticipating evolving customer tastes.

COCARD’s products will continue to service wearables, pay-by-link, and other new technologies as they hit the market. More than offering trendy solutions, we also offer the best CRM software and data protection of any operator on the market. We also have the partnerships and resources to make sure that stays true for decades to come. 

Get in touch today to supercharge your POS suite.

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