Are These Sunglasses the Credit Card of the Future?

Mar 16, 2017

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Today, we have credit cards made out of either plastic or metal. But tech companies and credit card issuers alike are experimenting with various card-less systems, most notably “wearable” technology (so far that means equipping smartwatches with the ability to pay for items). Visa’s latest concept allows customers to pay for goods with sunglasses.

Visa shared the prototype earlier this week at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. The technology will enable customers to go into a store and make their purchases purely by scanning their sunglasses over a payment terminal — no swiping necessary.

How does this work? The specs are embedded with a chip — the same type as you’ll find on your plastic or metal credit card, which is located on a stem of the glasses frame. To pay, customers have to take off the glasses and then tap the chip on a Visa near field communication-enabled terminal. That’s it.

The glasses aren’t yet available to the public, as Visa is still testing the product. The issuer is trying to gauge demand for the glasses, especially from banks that would want to sponsor the product.

This development is actually just the latest example of tech-enabled specs. Last year, Snapchat Spectacles took the social-media world by storm when the glasses hit the market. With them, users can broadcast their perspective to Snapchat followers. And a couple of years ago, Google Glass were touted as the wearable technology of the future, but Google announced in 2015 that it would stop producing the product.

Would you use sunglasses to pay for products at stores?

Featured image courtesy of Marius Hepp via Getty Images.


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