Why paying with your smartwatch is just a matter of time

The Apple Watch will be a game changer.
The Apple Watch will be a game changer.

Being able to pay with your smartwatch is not new. Devices with embedded contactless payment chips have been on the market for well over four years now but Apple could give wrist payment the momentum it needs to compete with plastic payments.

Visa's Executive Director for mobile in Europe, Jeremy Nicholds, reckons that Europe will lead the way for mobile transactions by a wide margin.

He told TechRadar: "Wearables could be a driver for mobile transactions in the short term. 2015 will be a tipping point year thanks to Apple Pay, which has galvanised the market, and the Apple Watch."

Nicholds notes that Spain, which hosts Mobile World Congress every year, has been a great promoter of contactless with more than 500,000 outlets in action.

Europe in pole position

That's twice as many as in the United States despite the latter having seven times more potential customers around. Things though are likely to change this year.

The Cupertino-based company has galvanised the market and vendors like Visa have helped in spreading contactless by subsidising the move to card from cash (e.g. in Poland). Social networks will also drive mobile transactions with mobile payments for services becoming mainstream.

Google has already enabled payments via email (Gmail) for millions of users worldwide, and Facebook and Twitter are working on their own mobile payment solutions.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.