Optus has got into the smartwatch market with a prototype device that delivers nine months battery life and can be used to pay for purchases with a swipe of the wrist.
The device does not need to be connected to a smartphone to activate a payment and is set to be launched in the second half of 2015.
Announced at the Mobile World congress in Barcelona the proof of purchase device is a key element in a new payment system from Optus that links with the Visa payWave contactless payment system.
Designed as part of the next evolution of Cash by Optus users in the future will have access to an Optus a connected watch or a wristband – linked to an Android or Apple handset.
When in close range, the connected watch and linked smartphone sync up via Bluetooth to update the account balance on the connected watch and transaction details on the linked phone.
The carrier admits that the future for smartwatches will be about fashion, applications and functionality.
Ben White, Vice President, Mobile Marketing, Optus, said, “Optus was the first Australian Telco to launch a mobile payments app late last year, which has received great feedback from our Android customers. The biggest frustration came from our iPhone customers who wanted to try Cash by Optus, but didn’t have a compatible phone. That’s why we’re developing this wearable technology, which is designed to work on both Apple and Android smartphones.
“We see huge opportunities in the wearable market by bringing new experiences to our customers through products that combine trusted technology with lifestyle benefits. Optus’ aim is to bring contactless payments to our entire customer base across lots of platforms.”
What is Cash by Optus?
Launched in collaboration with Visa and Heritage Bank, Cash by Optus uses Near Field Communication (NFC) and Visa payWave technology that can replace cash purchases below
Cash by Optus works just like a Visa Prepaid debit card. Customers can load up to $500 at any one time and make contactless purchases under $100 at any of the hundreds of thousands of retailers that accept Visa payWave. To get access to Cash by Optus, customers need an Optus mobile service on a monthly plan, a compatible Android smartphone, a NFC enabled SIM and the Cash by Optus app. Cash by Optus is now available for over 110 compatible Android devices across 10 different vendors – an increase from 25 compatible devices at launch last year.
The app uses Visa payWave technology, which features the international EMV chip standard, and provides some of the most widely adopted cryptographic security.
Time is money
Cash by Optus speeds up the transaction process and makes payments even more convenient compared to fumbling with cash and heavy change. Australians are leading the world in their usage of contactless payments with over 75 million Visa payWave transactions in January 20153. In fact, more than half (60%) of face-to-face Visa transactions in Australia are made using Visa payWave4.
George Lawson, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation, Visa, said, “Australians have proven to be early adopters of new technology when it comes to payments. With Visa payWave so widely adopted, the right conditions are in place for a move to mobile Visa payWave and future devices like wearables. We’re excited to support Optus in its drive to provide a simple payment experience for its customers, across devices.”
Smartphones are getting even smarter
Cash by Optus will continue to evolve as compatibility with platforms, devices and systems grows. Future applications of Cash by Optus could extend to the prepaid mobile market and to other sectors including public transport.
“Optus is focused on bringing innovative products to market. The fast adoption of contactless payments combined with the high penetration of smartphones in Australia provide the ideal environment to foster next generation services. We want our customers to see their phones as a natural evolution to paying for goods and services anytime, anywhere,” said Mr White.