Visa, the credit card company, announced a prototype of a pair of sunglasses that can make payments at the South By Southwest Festival held in Austin, Texas earlier this week.
According to a report the sunglasses that can make and accept payments was also showcased at the same time at the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro surf competitions in Gold Coast, Australia. “It ties back to our tagline of everywhere you want to be,” said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa in the report. “Without it it’s hard for us to fulfill our tagline. Our view is we take form factors that you don’t expect to be payment-enabled like sunglasses or maybe like a ring and expose to the market that maybe it can be.”
The sunglasses look very similar to non-tech ones but has a small chip embedded on the side to enable payments. To make a payment the user takes off the glasses, taps them close to a Visa near field communication enabled terminal and the transaction happens. Visa said it’s testing the sunglasses to determine if there is demand and which glasses brands and banks would support the product as a payment method.
In June leading up to the Rio Olympics Visa rolled out the next generation of payments wearables: an NFC-enabled payment ring. In the first prototype of its kind to be backed by Visa, the NFC payment rings was used by all Team Visa athletes in Rio, along with 45 Olympic hopefuls from around the world. The ring enables these athletes to make purchases with only their ring at any NFC-capable payment terminal. “Visa’s first payment ring puts smart payment technology right on the hands of our athletes for convenient and easy payments,” said Jim McCarthy, executive VP of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa at the time. “This ring is the latest example of how Visa is continuously innovating to deliver on its goal of universal acceptance at the games and across the world.”