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Q&A: Nudging consumers to adopt contactless wearable tech (Includes interview)

The business guru in question is Suresh Palliparambil, CEO of Purewrist. Palliparambil has developed a non-battery wearable that comes with a prepaid mini debit card. A prepaid debit card is a card that already has funds on it, so the credit limit is the amount of money left on the card. The aim is to make the use of safe, secure contactless payments more widely available and convenient.

Palliparambil tells Digital Journal that the U.S. is behind other high-income countries in terms of adopting contactless wearables. He speaks about the technology specifically and development in the payments sector more generally.

Digital Journal: How advanced has contactless payment technology become?

Suresh Palliparambil: Contactless payment technology has been growing quite steadily in the US, but the pandemic fast-tracked its adoption over the last year. Now, we’re seeing NFC technology and contactless payments emerge as the preferred option for consumers to pay for goods and services. It’s the new norm for payment transactions across transit hubs, food service, and major retail chains. We saw the MTA of New York City officially turn on their OMNY payment systems across all subway terminals and commuter buses. Retailers have also updated their payment devices to allow for tap-to-pay transactions in an effort to protect both employees and customers from exchanging cash or cards, thus avoiding unwanted germs, and speeding up the number of transactions.

DJ: What are the major security issues?

Palliparambil: There are often misconceptions around the security issues when utilizing contactless payments into everyday transactions. Contactless wearables connected to your credit or debit card feature the same security features as the card. At Purewrist, our prepaid wearable secured by Mastercard follows all EMVCo standards which is the same technology used in regular banking cards. In the event that the wearable is lost, the card can be blocked in the app or online. There is a very low risk of negative effect from losing the bracelet as all monies are safe and secure in your account. There are also misconceptions of charges or transfers occurring when the device is in range of an RFID reader or accidental charges when devices are in range of a scanner, but these are instances that are almost impossible to happen with a Purewrist wearable.

DJ: How can contactless payments technology be adapted for low to no power scenarios?

Palliparambil:In the event of a low to no power situation, having access to your funds in case of an emergency is important. Contactless technologies such as passive dual-interfaced cards and wearables that do not require charging can still be used to buy essentials such as groceries, fuel, and more if access to an ATM isn’t available and you’re out of cash, or you have left your wallet or purse behind. At Purewrist, we created our payment bracelet Purewrist GO to allow for tap-to-pay transactions without the need to recharge the bracelet – this is critical when you’re without power and your smartphone or smartwatch has drained its battery. Having contactless payment accessories that do not require a charge will provide the backup access to your funds to make purchases.

DJ: Is the answer to these issues in wearables?

Palliparambil:Wearables provide the convenience consumers are looking for in terms of making everyday transactions. The ability to have your credit or debit card on your wrist provides access to funds during an emergency, and certainly provides an answer around added security when facing an emergency that may limit access to your money.

DJ: Where in the U.S. could such technology be used?

Palliparambil:There has been a surge of major retailers welcoming tap-to-pay transactions over the year, and this includes coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants like Starbucks, Dunkin, Walgreens, Walmart, and so many more. Commuters will now tap-to-pay for their train, subway, or bus rides in the convenience of their smartphone or wearable device. Most recently, small businesses are also able to accept contactless transactions. Thanks to Mastercard’s recent launch of their new POS technology, Cloud Tap, which makes it easier for merchants, small businesses, vendors and more to accept contactless payments. Their cloud-based system only requires the business owner’s smartphone, rather than investing in a new POS system altogether.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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