Barclaycard’s contactless watch is a sign of the times

By Teamspirit on Sunday, 1 October 2017

Last week saw the announcement of a new partnership between Barclaycard and Timex: a leather wristwatch embedded with contactless technology.

It’s not the first time the card provider has led the way in this area. Barclaycard was first to introduce contactless payments to the UK back in 2007, and its bPay technology has previously popped up in key fobs, jewellery, wristbands and stickers. There was even a fashion-forward collaboration with Topshop last year.

Barclaycard is far from alone in helping tech move out of our wallets and smartphones and into new areas. In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen the Jacquard, a ‘smart denim jacket’ produced by Google and Levi’s, as well as wearable pollution trackers and the inevitable return of smart glasses.

Each of these has its uses (though a £265 jacket that lasts only 10 washes seems a bit of a stretch). But they also bring a host of new security headaches, particularly for financial services.

We’re yet to see the first large-scale cyberattack on a wearable network. Equally, we’re yet to see a wearable ‘do an iPhone’ and achieve mass market adoption.

As we approach that point, we’ll see more confidential information relating to banking, health and investment leave the relatively secure environment of our smartphones and computers for the unknown.

For Barclaycard and financial services generally, success in navigating this new security paradigm and protecting customers’ data from both cyberattack and physical theft will be crucial.

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