Wirecard plans summer Smart Band launch

Wirecard is eyeing a summer launch for its Smart Band, a wristband that functions like a digital wallet, which will initially be released in Europe.

The German payments company told Gigaom that, if all goes well, it intends to launch the Smart Band this summer in Europe. With the Apple Watch only going on sale in the US in April, European Android users may be waving a contactless payments wristband some time before iOS fans in Europe.

Wirecard unveiled a prototype of its device last month that stored credit cards, ID cards and even tickets. The Smart Band uses Host Card Emulation to securely transfer and then store credit card credentials from a smartphone, then communicates with a POS terminal using NFC.

Rather than tying itself and the Smart Band to one big player in the mobile payments and wearables race, Wirecard plans to use the product to fuel the mobile wallets of its many partners, as well as for its own benefit.

Wirecard is the brains behind the mobile payments services created for Telefonica, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom, and runs a consumer-facing bank of its own that issues prepaid cards and a peer-to-peer payments network.

The first commercial Smart Band could be available for the company’s own cardholders in Europe by this summer, and will be offered next to Wirecard’s white label partners. The company’s end goal is to licence the Smart Bank tech and sell the payments processing services to other hardware makers.

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