Barclays is to introduce wearable payment devices that will operate its mobile payment brand, Pingit, in May – giving 3.6 million users access to simple ways to pay on the go.
New features will also be coming to Pingit to enhance the wearable experience. For example, users will soon be able to segment their account into ‘jars’ to set aside money for specific uses, such as spending on holiday or providing pocket money to a child.
Within the app, users can assign their wearables to specific jars in real-time to gain more control over their or their family’s spending.
Alongside wearables, this summer Pingit users will have the option of linking a debit card to their account, giving them another way to pay. Users also benefit from other features already live in the app including to ability to pay friends and family in more than 40 countries, fee-free, with just a mobile number. It also allows ‘pay while you chat’ – Pingit’s keyboards allowing users to make payments directly from their messaging app. Wearers can also donate to charity in just a couple of taps.
In line with the ambition to build out Pingit as Barclays’ mobile payments brand, providing an all-in-one app for users to manage their spending on-the-go, Barclays will also be bringing the bank’s existing wearable brand, bPay, into Pingit. By moving onto the Pingit platform, current bPay customers will soon be able to make instant payments to friends and family, as well as retaining access to a range of wearables to spend directly from their account.
All current bPay users, including those with partner products featuring an embedded bPay chip, will be contacted and provided instructions for a free upgrade to Pingit wearables.
"Barclays is doing the right thing here," says Capgemini’s EVP of banking & capital markets Sankar Krishnan. "Payments wearables from banks haven’t taken off as anticipated, and it makes a lot of sense to merge with their preexisting app. However, for others like Radiius and their wearable Bee app, they’ve been able to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace by focusing on specific closed user groups like sports, shopping, casinos, etc. Bee has also managed to integrate across mobile platforms thereby competing favorably with the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay."
The solution, thinks Krishnan, is to customise the wearable for a particular segment for repeat use in the daily lives such as porting amazon checkout on an Amazon fob or car keys than on the phone.
bPay already operates with a range of third-parties to run Barclays mobile payments services through new smartwatch designs from the likes of GUESS Watches, Mondaine, Timex, Kronaby, Suunto, ADEXE and LBS
Currently one in five adults wears a smartwatch or fitness strap and by 2020, the wearable tech market will be worth €30 billion globally – proving the market is one to watch. Globally, this equates to 105 million wearables shipped in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 10%, according to the latest Wearable Technology market report from Futuresource Consulting.