Visa Europe works on wearable payments with Central Saint Martins College

a road sign saying the future next exit

Following last week’s showcase of the contactless payment ring at London Fashion Week, Visa Europe is continuing to focus on wearable payments by partnering with art and design institution Central Saint Martins College.

Visa Europe has asked current students and graduates to consider how a wearable payment device can look and function by 2020.


Integrating fashion and payments

They had to consider how a person would be able to keep track of loose change digitally, categorise payments with a simple hand gesture and integrate fashion, social media and payments into a brooch.

Five of Central Saint Martins’ young designers – all either students or graduates of the MA Industrial Design course – took part in the exercise.

One of the most important objectives was to ensure the designs were geared specifically towards payments, but even more importantly, they had to challenge the norms of wearable payment devices that are available today.

The project culminated in a presentation of the three co-created design concepts at this week’s Visa Europe Technology Partner Forum.

Speaking about the project, Nick Mackie, Head of Contactless at Visa Europe, said: “At Visa, we envisage that contactless technology will become a standard feature on many wearable devices by 2020; in fact, there’s no reason why the payment function on a wearable device wouldn’t become as ubiquitous as the alarm function on a digital watch.”


‘Human-centric design’

Mackie went on to say how the future of wearables should be explored not only in terms of innovation, but also with a “human-centric design” in mind.

“Wearables take all that’s great about contactless – the speed, convenience and simplicity – and make it better still. The very essence of a wearable is its physical connection to you at any time, which by nature eliminates friction and improves security,” he added.

The project is part of Visa’s contactless mandate. The company has stated that all point of sale terminals in Europe need to be contactless enabled by the beginning of 2020, as Europeans increasingly expect to use new technologies over cash when it comes to check-out.

“Our collaboration with Visa Europe has given our students and graduates an exceptional opportunity to work with the payment industry’s leading organisation, providing in return a fresh new perspective on the future of wearable payments,” said Nick Rhodes, Programme Director, Product Ceramic & Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins.

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