It's a hot year for payments in Australia. Apple, Samsung and Google are all about to launch themselves back into the ring to be your new bestie when it comes to mobile payments, and now Optus is in the ring as well with a smartwatch that acts like a Visa debit card.
It's just a proof of concept for now, but it means that you can wear a fancy smartwatch that allows you to wave your wrist over a payment terminal to transact.
The wearable features a pre-paid Visa debit card system in it, backed by Heritage Bank. You can reload up to $5000 on it and transact $100 at a time without having to enter a PIN.
The wearable is part of the Cash By Optus program launched in November that allowed select smartphone customers to pay for stuff on their devices, with the payments secured by the secure SIM card.
A new Cash By Optus app that pairs with the wearable will be made available to Apple and Android users later in the year in the spirit of ubiquitous payment platforms. All the app really does, however, is update the balance of your account in near real-time.
All the payment stuff is handled by your smartwatch, which is essentially just a debit card in disguise at the end of the day.
Optus wants to release the proof-of-concept as a proper product by the end of the year, and wants to continue to develop new contactless technology to work on things like transportation and identity management programs. [Optus]
We'll have a hands on of Cash By Optus and the new wearable later on today! Stay tuned.