I don’t know about you, but the idea of wearable money conjures images of credit cards, gold of course, dangling from someone’s ear lobes, or maybe a crisp note, pound or dollar, rolled up, and placed around a finger. Wearable wallets are coming, but they won’t be quite like that if a leading fintech company, PSI Pay, has anything to say about it.
The rise of contactless payment is already underway, and, while we may currently associate the concept with smartphones, PSI Pay and partner Kerv Wearables have something a little more stylish in mind. Mobile phones have made so-called “wave and pay” an option for more than 10 years, and contactless payment now accounts for a third of all UK transactions. The technology has become so ubiquitous that even the Church of England, for all its associations with rigidity and tradition, is taking notice. Church goers can now stand inside centuries old cathedrals and make their tithe at a contactless terminal.
PSI Pay uses its proprietary payment system to replace credit and debit cards with a contactless device, usually found in a smartphone. They were one among many such vendors to provide this type of service, until they partnered with Kerv. This is where things get interesting. Kerv placed all the power of contactless payment into a simple, wearable titanium ring. Their rings are durable, water resistant, come in a assortment of sizes, and are designed to fit all genders. Most importantly, thanks to Kerv chaining their product to PSI Pay’s services, their rings hold all the purchasing power of a wallet. With a simple tap on a terminal the transaction is complete; no pin are signature necessary. The rings are secured by RFID technology and by purchasing limits put in place by national frameworks and individual banks. In the UK, for instance, single purchases are capped at 30 pounds. The rings can also be turned off, if necessary.
Kerv’s choice in partners shouldn’t be surprising to fintech insiders. PSI Pay saw its revenues increase by 45% in 2015 alone, with a 5.5% rise in profits, and this was on the heels of similar results in 2014. As contactless payment’s expected growth continues, the company seems well primed to take the advantage. With 7 billion pound notes still in circulation, physical money won’t be disappearing completely, but PSI Pay and Kerv believe they’ve got the future in, or perhaps on, their hands.