Wearable Technology on the Rise; Mobile Tech to Reign

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Wearable technology trends are on the rise and mobile tech is taking reign for the payments industry.

Technology research heavyweight Gartner recently released its forecast that wearable technology will be a much larger part of mobile payments in the very near future, with an estimated 50 percent of consumers using wearable technology or smartphones to make purchases by 2018. Everyone has heard of smartphones, of course, but the term “wearables” has not come across most people’s radars who are not involved in the payment processing industry. Wearable technologies, or wearables, are things like smartwatches and other jewelry and accessories that are equipped with “smart” technology, including the ability to hold payment technology to be used to make purchases.

Although it may not seem like it during the initial adoption period of a trend that has been slow in really taking off, all the numbers point to an explosion in the mobile payments market for small businesses as much as large ones.

As wearable technology trends become more common on the consumer, apps and mobile technology will become more advanced and competitive. If it has not been made clear by now, technology will continue to shape business models and traditional payments with an infusion of mobile payment.

In the report, Gartner described three types of mobile payments: wearables and smartphone payments, branded mobile wallet payments from credit card issuers or banks, and branded mobile wallets from retailers, like the Starbucks app and the upcoming Walmart mobile payment app. With all of these options on the market, it is predicted that NFC technology, like that used for Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung pay, will still remain the fastest growing in this space.

In the beginning of January, MasterCard announced a partnership with Coin, the all-in-one card (credit, debit, gift, loyalty, and membership card all rolled into one), to push the next frontier in wearable payment technology. MasterCard will use Coin’s patented technology platform to miniaturize the payment technology for wearables. Third-party companies like fitness tracker designer Atlas Wearables, personal wearable fitness coach Moov, and fashionable smartwatch marker Omate have already signed on to the project.

Consumers are excited about this collaboration because it will make all of their wearable technology more useful, as they can sync Coin technology across all mobile platforms, from smartphone to tablet to wearable. Also, the miniaturizing technology reduces power consumption of the hardware, which is a must for wearables. Industry insiders believe that this creates new use cases for wearables, which is important in the digital payments market because it drives consumer adoption.

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