On 3rd July 2014, one of Spain’s leading banks – CaixaBank – announced the launch of a new Visa wristband that enables users to make contactless payments at merchant outlets, in a seamless manner. This is actually pretty huge! So far we have seen widespread use of contactlesss wristbands restricted mostly to concerts, music festivals and other live events of the kind.
The band enables customers of the bank to carry payment cards on their wrists. This makes for fast and convenient payments at over 300,000 businesses across Spain. CaixaBank says that it plans to distribute 15,000 contactless wristbands to those users that have utilized their contactless cards the most.
The launch is slated to become the largest programme in Europe to use wearable devices as a payment method with Visa.
The wristband will be made available via the bank's entire branch network in the second half of 2014.
Users will be able to make their own designs and get hold of their bands through all the usual banking channels.
The wristband consists of a microtag with the user’s encrypted card details, protected with the same security guarantees as normal cards (EMV system).
The contactless chip connects the wristband to PoS systems to complete transactions just like a standard contactless card.
All this technology is united in a small gadget featuring an adjustable strap and hypoallergenic materials.
Complete payments with a simple tap of the wrist against PoS terminals
The elastic and adjustable Visa contactless wristband is also water-proof and damp-proof, states the company’s press release.
Customers can wear the band even while working out or during outdoor activities without any concerns.
The wristband also represents an additional card to the user’s existing contactless card, which means that all purchases are charged in exactly the same way as with their normal card.
Furthermore, wearing the card at the wrist is more convenient and more secure, as users won‘t need to take it off to make payments, ensuring much faster purchases – says the company.
Interaction with the PoS is the same as with existing contactless cards, except that the wearer simply brings their wrist close to the terminal rather than a card.
The device will connect via proximity and complete the transaction.
As with contactless cards, for purchases over 20 euro customers will have to enter their card PIN to validate the transaction.
Just bringing the device close to the merchant's PoS, purchases of less than 20 euro can be made.
The system is fully compatible with all PoS systems that support Visa contactless payments all over the world, according to the release.
All the existing security guarantees and free CaixaProtect coverage
The wristband has all the same security features as normal contactless cards.
Thanks to EMV technology, purchases made with the band are fully encrypted, says the release.
The contactless wristband is covered by the CaixaProtect service free of charge, which protects customers from potential fraudulent card use.
CaixaBank has set up a specific application that alerts users immediately of any transactions made using the device.
This is to ensure that customers have complete control over transactions completed using the wristband.
The application is completely free of charge and can be downloaded via an SMS that is sent to the user when they activate their wristband.
The application is also available via the bank’s app store, CaixaMóvil Store.
The rollout of these wristbands sees CaixaBank bring together two areas of innovation that have already had significant international success: the contactless payment system and wearable banking.
Back in 2011 CaixaBank became the first bank in Europe to launch a large-scale contactless card payment system. CaixaBank now possesses over 4 Mn contactless cards in circulation, 200,000 contactless-ready PoS systems and accounts for 16% of all contactless payments made in Europe, according to Visa estimates.
Meanwhile, in early 2014 CaixaBank launched its first financial services for new wearable devices, including the world's first application for smartwatch devices and an application to help Google Watch users locate branches and convert currencies.
The contactless wristband unites these two trends says the bank. It provides users with wearable financial services and all the benefits that these entail, particularly in terms of convenience, security and speed when making payments.
By diversifying payment formats, customers can choose the system that suits them best: card, mobile or wearable device. CaixaBank currently has more cards in circulation than any other bank in Spain, at more than 12.5 Mn, and has also pioneered mobile payments via its NFC service.