Smart devices

Visa Developed A Pair of Sunglasses You Can Pay With

visa payment sunglasses

You may be struggling to adjust to the idea that your phone has become your wallet but Visa is just beginning to change the world. As credit cards are replacing cash, the company hopes to give the power of making financial transactions to more common objects soon. First stop: sunglasses #objectmagic

At the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, Visa showed how a pair of standard-looking sunglasses can hold the key to your accounts. By embedding a small NFC chip in one of the arms, the sunglasses can be connected to a Visa account. This means that you’ll get to keep your money right where you can see them. All you have to do once you reach the cashier is take out your sunglasses and put them near an NFC-enabled terminal. In seconds, the payment is confirmed.

photo credits: CNBC/Michelle Castillo

As you can imagine, the sunglasses are in prototype phase and the company will have to find several banks willing to enable this system before mass-production can start. Until that happens, you still have the option to pay with your smartphone via Android Pay, Samsung Pay or Apple Pay. All you have to do is insert credit card details on your device – be it smartwatch or phone – and hold it near the reader. When using such a Samsung device, you have to scan your fingerprint to authorize the payment. If you own an iPhone, you have to put your finger on the TouchID. 

Paying with a touch of your fingers is convenient enough, but is it safe? Once your credit card data is registered on a device, the risk of hacking increases and fingerprints are not scam-proof. With less than $500, your fingerprints can be cloned after extracting them from something as innocent as a selfie.

What can you do? Two-step biometric authentication is the way to go if you prefer smartphone payment. More and more computer vision companies like FotoNation, aware of the importance of authorizing payments with harder-to-crack biometric data (iris and facial indicators) are encouraging smartphone manufacturers to develop handsets that can utilize both.

Ask yourself this: is it a coincidence that Samsung S8 is rumored to launch with three types of biometric authentication systems or that Apple is focusing on bringing facial recognition tech to iPhone?

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