Bankwest road tests payments wearables

Bankwest has embarked on a 12-week trial of up-and-coming wearable payments technologies, equipping 400 staff with various contactless payment devices.

Select staff have been provided with either a key fob, a fitness-style wristband, or a clip attached to their own watch strap. Bankwest has implanted each device with a near-field communications (NFC) chip typically found in credit and debit cards.

The bank will gather on device usage rates and participant payment habits, measuring each value against existing contactless debit/credit cards and smartphone wallets.

Participants are encouraged to pay with the method that "comes to hand most easily", according to Bankwest managing director Rowan Munchenberg.

The trial will determine the ease-of-use and practicality of each payment technology, with a view to the potential future adoption of the best-reviewed devices.

“We’re really excited by where this ‘toe in the water’ trial could take us,” he said. We need to continually evolve and adapt to meet the quickly changing needs of our customers.”

“Our customers’ lives are so varied and so we need to look at offering a range of payment methods that fit their lifestyles. Students, self-employed, FIFOs, retirees, regional or metro – there really can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach anymore.”

Munchenberg was also confident that the bank's digital security measures will be upheld in each of the trialled payment devices.

"The technology is just as secure as in people’s cards – it’s just in a different form,” he said.

The trial was born out of a recent CX hackathon headed by Bankwest, which spurred the CommBank subsidiary to undertake the wearables pilot. 

“The hack days empower colleagues to let their creative juices flow. It’s so inspiring to see people’s imagination light up and work collaboratively to improve our customers’ experiences with us,” said Mr Munchenberg.
 

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