Visa jumps the contactless payment shark with its new sunglasses

Not long after Snap tried to change the way we use our sunglasses with its camera-enabled Snap Spectacles, Visa has announced at this year’s SXSW that it’s testing sunglasses capable of making contactless payments.

In fairness to Visa, unlike the unavoidably obvious design of the Snap Specs, these contactless payment glasses don’t look any different from an ordinary pair of shades.

It’s only when you look at their inner arm that you see they’re fitted with a small NFC chip, which is linked to the wearer’s Visa account. That means that rather than carrying cash or your contactless payment card around with you, you’ll only need your sweet shades and devil-may-care attitude to make all those under-pocket-money purchases.

Super specs

The sunglasses don’t have a price point just yet, and it’s not clear when or if they’ll be made available to the general public.

At the moment Visa is testing the sunglasses at the World Surf League’s 2017 Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast competition, no doubt to generate interest and gauge demand. 

A surfing competition is admittedly a time when competitors are unlikely to be carrying a standard form of payment and may, therefore, be thankful that they have a pair of sunglasses that will double up as a method of payment. 

However, that’s a highly specific scenario, and we can’t help but feel stressed already by the highly-plausible prospect of breaking or losing them – and that’s not even mentioning the evenings, cold seasons, and overcast days when using them is likely to make you appear more stupid than savvy.

Perhaps if Snap and Visa join forces they’ll be able to develop super spectacles capable of recording the cashier’s look of admiration (or is that mild exasperation?) as you whip off your shades to pay for your morning coffee.

Just as long as you remember to take them off, and don’t start slamming your head against card machines.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.