Barclays has announced it is planning to introduce a new payment technology utilising wearable wristbands.
The bank will be trialling its bPay technology at several major outdoor events this summer, starting with the British Summer Time music festival in Hyde Park on July 3, where they can be used to gain entry and buy food and drink.
The bank will be giving out the wristbands free of charge, and has said that they will work with the majority of UK card holders, not just Barclays customers, although retailers will be expected to pay a small transaction fee.
The waterproof rubber wristbands, which will use the same technology currently found in the bank’s existing credit and debit cards, will be trialled at several further events before an expected public launch sometime in 2015.
The wristbands will allow users to make payments from one of 300,000 UK terminals and even gain entry to events. Similar to existing contactless payment cards, users will simply need to swipe their wristband over a pay terminal, with money then being taken out of their linked account.
"Barclaycard is keenly interested in future payments and the potential of wearable technology," the company wrote on its bPay website.
"With innovations like bPay band, we’re already experimenting with wearables, while our partnership with Transport for London is just one way we’re expanding the reach and usefulness of contactless technology."
Barclays launched Britain’s very first contactless card in 2007 and said it has plans to put the technology in a number of other form factors, such as key fobs, to encourage more contactless payments. It says it is the country’s biggest credit card provider, with more than 10 million accounts in the UK.
The announcement follows figures released last week by the British Retail Consotrium (BRC) predicting that British shoppers are increasingly shunning the use of cash in favour of mobile payments, with the former only accounting for £27.64 in every £100 spent at retailers in 2013.
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