CaixaBank rolls out contactless wristband after successful pilot

Spanish Bank CaixaBank is rolling contactless wristbands out following a pilot of the wearable technology with select customers

Spanish Bank CaixaBank is releasing contactless wristbands following a pilot of the wearable technology with selected customers.

The bank is using Gemalto’s Optelio Contactless MiniTag and from October the wristbands will be available from all CaixaBank branches. The contactless EMV transactions can be performed at more than 300,000 payment terminals across Spain.

In July the bank gave 15,000 wristbands to customers so they could make contactless payments to hundreds of thousands of businesses in Spain. Users can make payments under €20 by moving their wrists near the point-of-sale systems. 

A microtag inside the wristband contains the customer’s encrypted card details, protected by the same security guarantees as normal cards.

Financial services firms are pioneering wearable technology as consumers and business clients seek new ways of using their services.

Westpac Banking Corporation’s New Zealand operation is testing its own app for customers to view balances using Google Glass.

Other wearable technology developments in the finance sector include the ability to check bank accounts on watches, along with rings that can alert traders to changes in the market.

According to Gartner, the strongest consumer base for wearable electronics is fitness enthusiasts, but wider interest in these devices is leading to broader adoption. The use of alternative payment methods are on the up according to a recent report from Capgemini and RBS. The 2014 World Payments report found that, in 2013, alternative payments increased globally by 9.4%. It also said 800 billion non-cash payments will be made over the next 10 years.

Worldwide revenue from wearable electronic devices, apps and services for fitness and personal health is anticipated to be $1.6bn this year, rising to $5bn by 2016.

CaixaBank is testing the latest technologies across its business. In May it launched an app that enables customers to view their accounts and make transactions via Facebook. It also recently commissioned Fujitsu to build 8,500 ATMs with contactless capabilities. The 10-year agreement, worth €500m, will remove the need for customers to use cards, opening up possibilities to use mobile phones and wearable devices at ATMs.

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