Business Technology

MasterCard to power contactless payments on premium watches

3 min read

22 February 2016

Former deputy editor

In a deal revealed at Mobile World Congress 2016, lovers of fine watches will be ensured even more luxury when wearing premium brands as MasterCard has signed up to power payments on high-end timepieces.

Despite Samsung working on the market for a number of years with its Gear devices, smartwatches are still an emerging gadget yet become as mainstream as smartphones and tablets.

However, as with most of its products, Apple has managed to generate a loyal following for its Apple Watch, which is hailed as the top luxury watch brand.

Ranking 13th on the list of the world’s top 45 luxury brands, the Apple Watch even outshone Rolex, as well as Tag Heuer, Richemont, Curren and Patek Phillippe as the number one in the watch stakes.

With a view to provide luxury watch owners a richer experience, MasterCard has teamed with cyber security and mobile software firm WISeKey in a payments partnership.

Revealed on 22 February at Mobile World Congress 2016, the deal will allow contactless payments across selected premium brand watches – including Hublot and Bulgari – and wearables to build on WISeKey’s existing work.

For example, the Bulgari Diagono Magnesium watch comes complete with WISeKey’s tech and has a built-in NFC (the tech that powers contactless interactions). A concept revealed at Baselworld 2015 showcased the watch with the power to access private data, activate alarms and open and lock doors on buildings and cars alike.

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Sherri Haymond, senior VP, digital payments and labs, MasterCard, said: “Our collaboration with WISeKey is a great example of how payments functionality can deliver transformative more value for a variety of device manufacturers, and create safe and convenient shopping experiences for their consumers.”

As part of the MasterCard deal, the payment firm will integrate its tech into WISeKey’s Internet of Things (IoT) and NFC platforms to provide secure shopping freedoms from watches and wearables.

Carlos Moreira, CEO of WISeKey, added: “Working together, WISeKey and MasterCard will open the door to additional e-commerce and marketing opportunities for luxury wearable device and watch manufacturers. The potential for improved communication with customers can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.”

If you fancy getting your hands on more of the latest products from firms leading the charge for the luxury sector, check out the 12 rising enterprises that are set to help blaze a trail for the British premium goods market to reach a value of £51.1bn within five years.