India’s $10 alternative to the Apple smart watch for contactless payments

India’s Axis bank has rolled out a range of wearable devices for contactless payments. It is called Wear ’N’ Pay, and customers can use it via payment bands, key fobs, or loops to make payments.

The technology comes from Canada’s Tappy Technologies and has a secure chip supplied by Thales embedded in it. What is more, the Axis-branded technology only costs $10 to the wearer.

Sanjeev Moghe, EVP & Head of cards & payments at Axis Bank said: “With the increasing number of digital payments users, we see a huge opportunity in contactless payments, which will continue to grow, given the post pandemic situation and the need for social distancing. Contactless payments are the future of payments industry in India.”

He then explained the advantages of wearables for creating a new market for the bank and for consumers:

“To tap into this market, our Wear ’N’ Pay programme brings in convenience in contactless payments at a budget friendly price point, offering a safe and secure mode of payments on the go. Not only are these devices contemporary looking, but are also designed in a way that it becomes a part of our daily lives, thus increasing adoption of cashless transactions for everyday requirements.”

Some have pointed out that this method of payment is already available via Apple’s smart watch. However, there is a counter argument to that in the Indian context. One reader said, “India does not have high NFC based smartphones penetration and the present situation demands it, so a bank has come up with offering.” And another explained that the price point of $10 is hugely significant for the Indian market, where an Apple smart watch is a luxury item: “This is about access — when smart watches are at the $10 price point mentioned in the article, people can drop these devices — until then, smart watches are a discretionary luxury for most.”

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