Contactless wearable technology – Payments in style
From wristbands, fitness trackers and watches to jewellery and smart clothing, there's now a vast range of wearable devices that include payment, and they're proving a big hit with consumers.
An NFC-enabled bracelet for regular shopping
Their success is all down to two key developments:
- contactless payment is now available everywhere meaning consumers the world over can enjoy the convenience of using their card to tap and pay
- advances in technology enable payment to be easily and invisibly added to wearables, delivering an enhanced consumer experience at the checkout.
Discover the comprehensive portfolio of smart yet simple to use wearable devices designed by Thales to fit every need.
From smart cards to smart wearable devices
Thanks to its strong R&D capability, Thales has devised a simple, comprehensive solution to add payment to wearables.
Our offer is based on two critical technological elements:
1-Ensure the hardware tech is invisible
To keep the wearable attractive, Thales has managed to condense the technology that enables a contactless card to speak to a reader into a tiny piece of secure payment technology that can be invisibly integrated into a range of wearable devices in a variety of shapes and sizes.
From a simple companion device to a desirable wearable object you will wear and use every day, Thales offers you the convenience of contactless payment.
2-Ensure a secure and straightforward user payment experience
Thanks to our support for payment card tokenisation features, the wearable can be easily linked to the cardholder bank account. The payment function is easy to enrol and simple to use as it works as an extension of the payment card.
Afraid you'll lose your wearable?
Don't worry; our tokenisation service comes with a mobile companion to control your payment device remotely and activate/deactivate the function.
Thales is transforming card payments from a commodity into a secure* must-have fashion item.
*Check out our Is contactless safe page.
Wearable technology and smart payment go hand in hand
In recent years there have been many different wearable tech projects.
- In the UK, we've seen contactless payments evolving from NFC-enabled bracelets, phone cases keychains and jewellery devices retailed by well-known brands. This extensive deployment has showcased the evolution of the technology from fun and colourful series of co-branded Barclays-Topshop silicon devices to bPay-enabled watches marketed by the likes of Guess, Timex and Suunto.
- The technology has also made its way into the sports arena. A selected few used stylish contactless rings at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Since then, funky ToviSorga bracelets have been deployed for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup tournament.
- In Poland and Singapore, a payment-enabled bracelet or watch has become the everyday companion of teenagers, who are using the technology to learn to control their spending with help from their parents. With an access-control feature on the Thales chip inside these wearables, parents also have the reassurance of knowing where their children are, whether they're on the bus to school or on their way back home.
The Thales wearable portfolio ticks all the boxes, whether you are looking for a contactless wristband for simple access, cashless festivals, sporting events or only for the pleasure of wearing the latest must-have fashion,
It offers the convenience and security of a wrist-worn wearable, a removable payment chip (that's inserted into the wearable device) or a pre-integrated flexible (for transparent integration into the device during manufacture).
Choose the deployment that's right for you with the Thales wearables portfolio.
Whether you're a bank, an event organiser, a transport operator or a wearable maker, you can show you value your customers with attractive, frictionless and secure contactless wearable devices.
From basic wristbands to high-end devices, Thales has the right options to support your deployment. Discover the options available and consult with our team to build the foundations of a great wearable deployment.
To start, you need to:
1. identify the right user experience for your deployment
2. choose the wearable devices
3. select the appropriate payment chip.
# Choice 1: identify the right user experience
Depending on your market constraints and target audience, you have a choice of payment products between:
- removable: give the cardholder the power to insert the payment chip in their wearable device for quick and easy deployment
- pre-integrated: provide the cardholder with a wearable device where the payment chip is already embedded in the wearable device during manufacturing
Whichever option you select, Thales technology matches the ease of use and innovation with a real commercial value proposition.
# Choice 2: choose the wearable devices
Thales is flexible to support your needs, regardless of whether you want to roll out basic or high-end devices and whether you want to manufacture the service itself or outsource it.
With the removable option, the Thales Gemalto PayBand portfolio offers silicon bracelets or loop items, which are customisable with your bank logo and favourite Pantone colours.
These high-quality bracelets are made of a recyclable medical and food-grade silicon to win full user acceptance and market share.
Thales also offers Gemalto MiniTag or Gemalto MicroTag payment chips that the end-user can easily handle and insert into their wearable just like they do with a SIM in their mobile phone.
The pre-integrated option is based on invisible technology or a more elaborate device casing. If you don't plan to manufacture the device yourself, we can introduce you to the wearable manufacturer or OEM, that's the best fit for your needs. We already work with a range of wearable makers and integrators that have a good track record with the technology.
# Choice 3: Choose your payment chip
Thales Gemalto Tags (payment chips) are ready to be inserted or integrated into any plastic, fabric or leather wristband for swift deployment.
Whatever your device size requirements, one thing's for sure: Thales will have something to suit your needs. Our MiniTag, MicroTag, FlexiTag and Sticker options ensure that there's something for any type of deployment. We've pushed the technical specifications to their limits by creating the FlexiTag, the smallest passive contactless card in the world that is certified by Visa and MasterCard. And all of our products are fully certified by the leaders in the payments world.
Deploying a wearable payment device is not only about you offering your customers a convenient new means of payment. You can also enhance their experience with a mobile application. This feature will let them control every aspect of the Tag/wearable – including activating and deactivating it – as well as keep tabs on their spending. With the support of Thales innovative solutions and payment Tags, you can help them feel even more secure and ensure that your deployment is a success.
With its competitive price point, flexibility and ease of production, the MiniTag is ideal for mass deployments
, making it one of our most popular wearable products.
Top bank brands have already successfully rolled out this technology. And as it's certified waterproof, the MiniTag is ideal for use on the beach or at the swimming pool, adding to its convenience for consumers.
The MiniTag is less than a third the size of a traditional card. It is delivered on card body support with the standard graphical printing to enable you to promote your brand and innovation message.
Thales Gemalto MiniTag can be either added during device manufacturing or by the cardholder.
The MicroTag is smaller than the MiniTag but is no less powerful.
Because we haven't compromised on performance in creating this technology, it has received the thumbs up from VIP customers as well as major bank brands.
Our clients tell us that their customers love it as this technology is convenient, fun, secure and is only the size of a SIM card.
The miniature format and graphical printing of bank information make the MicroTag particularly well suited for those deployments where end-users insert the tag by themselves in all kinds of wearables devices. Of course, to match all customer requests, Thales Gemalto MicroTag can also be added to the device at the manufacturing stage.
The FlexiTag is designed to be inserted by the manufacturer of the final device, ensuring a ready-to-use contactless experience for end-users. It's so flexible it can be invisibly integrated into comfortable wearable devices, where the end-user will be unable to feel the technology.
The best way to ensure broad acceptance of contactless technology is to make sure end-users can use the new feature without any additional action or specific handling instructions. FlexiTag makes this possible.
Thales Gemalto FlexiTag is designed to fit most standard wristband sizes, one of the critical elements of wearable device design.
This Thales Gemalto Tag comes in the form of an adhesive card designed to be stuck on the back of electronic devices such as mobile phone handsets.
In markets where mobile banking is not yet standard, the Thales Gemalto Sticker is a fast and cost-effective way of enabling your customers to use their phone to pay for goods and services straight away. There's no waiting for a contract, and there's no need for a long setup process involving banks and mobile service providers.
Thanks to a bigger antenna and patented shielding technology, the Sticker delivers excellent performance, even on the latest mobile phones. It's designed to work in challenging environments, so it can be used on any kind of material – whether it's plastic or metallic.
All your customers need to do is simply snap the Sticker out of its holder, fix it to their device and start making payments with their new contactless 'card'.
Beyond payment: extending wearable use cases
Let visitors have a secure and frictionless experience with contactless wearables at your event – no need to carry a wallet when making their way through the crowd to the stage or cheering on their favourite team!
Deploying a cashless payment environment with wristbands at your event will open up a world of possibilities.
Contactless wearables will improve your customers' overall event experience by removing the burden of handling cash or worrying about pickpockets.
Smart wristbands go one step further and can combine payment with other features such as fast-track access, loyalty and rewards, enabling smarter event management.
At major events and in large areas such as festivals, sports stadiums and theme parks, less is more!
No more having to turn up with cash, tokens and entrance tickets: visitors can enjoy the convenience of using a single device to do it all, from getting through the gates too quickly buying food and drinks, with just a tap of their wrist.
Wearables equipped with Thales contactless payment technology has already been a great success at major events around the world.
At the Eurovision Song Contest Final in Stockholm, Sweden, in the spring of 2016, the extravagant outfits on stage were complemented by other wearables worn by the audience – contactless wristbands.
Available in the Eurovision Village in the week leading up to the contest, the wristbands remained usable at any Visa-ready contactless POS terminal in the world for six months after the event, enabling visitors from all over the world to take their wristbands home as a useful souvenir.
Target Access Control:
Portability, security, convenience and customisable designs are crucial in the world of access control, whether it's for private companies or large audience access such as stadium entry.
Through several large-scale rollouts, Thales has already demonstrated the benefits of such a deployment:
Transport organisations are keen to improve their customers' journey continually.
Part of this global strategy is to make ticketing simpler and more convenient by removing cash and paper tickets and replacing them with innovative solutions.
As people become increasingly familiar with contactless payment, contactless wristbands used for mass transit can be used to meet the needs of people on the go intuitively.
Wristbands are easily customisable to feature the transport operator's logo or the city's emblem, so the Thales wearable portfolio is well suited to support transport operators in their digital and wearable transformation.
Thales wearable technology also works seamlessly with the majority of NFC smartphones and devices, making it easy for users to reload travel credit and for inspectors to check travel passes and travellers' identities electronically.
- In Brazil, Rio de Janeiro's public transportation ticketing operator RioCard deployed Thales contactless transport ticket wristbands and stickers for foreign visitors to improve their access to transport during major sports events.
- In France, for the Euro2016 soccer tournament, a contactless transport ticket wristband was launched in cooperation with Keolis Lille. Users enjoyed the freedom of hopping on Lille's bus, tram and metro services with nothing more than a tap of their limited-edition wristband branded 'Partenaire des Supporters'. It encouraged supporters and residents to use public transport and made the journey to the stadium or fan zone easier.
Target Combined use cases:
However, you intend to pay for groceries, newspapers, your daily commute by public transport, or even access a specific controlled place, using a contactless wearable to do this is simple. Thanks to the Thales banking operating system and its complete range of contactless applications, it can help you address combined – and varied – use cases with a single wearable device.