Visa wants you to pay for stuff with a pair of sunglasses

SXSW: Just don't lose them
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If you've ever gone to the beach and bemoaned that you had to bring along your wallet, Visa has announced something tailor made for you: a payment-enabled pair of sunglasses.

Announced at Austin's SXSW, Visa told us the glasses are made by a local Australian brand called Local Supply, except that they have a small contactless card sitting on one of its temples. To pay, all you have to do is take the glasses off and tap them onto a Visa NFC-enabled terminal.

Visa is currently testing the glasses at the Quicksilver Pro and Roxy Pro surf competition in Gold Coast, Australia, which it's sponsoring. The company wants to see whether there's any demand for a pair of sunglasses you can pay for things with, and it also wants to see whether any brands or banks want to sponsor the device.

Read this: The best wearable payment devices

Chris Curtin, Visa's chief brand and innovation marketing officer, told CNBC that the sunglasses are a part of Visa's effort to make it as easy to pay for whatever you want, wherever you want. If that means a pair of sunglasses or a ring, then so be it.

Visa's strategy is similar to the one Snap had for its Snapchat Spectacles. Snap made availability of the Spectacles extremely limited at first, only selling them though vending machines that appeared in random cities for a day. Snap said the product was essentially a toy, an experiment to see if there was real demand for them. Once they felt comfortable enough, they opened sales up to everyone on its website.

What's unclear is whether Visa will charge Quicksilver Pro and Roxy Pro attendees to use their payment-enabled sunglasses and if they'll make it out of the prototype stage. Additionally, it's unclear if there are any security mechanisms in play to authenticate payments. We've followed up with these questions, and we'll update you if and when we know more.

Visa wants you to pay for stuff with a pair of sunglasses


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Husain Sumra


Husain joined Wareable in 2017 as a member of our San Fransisco based team. Husain is a movies expert, and runs his own blog, and contributes to MacRumors.

He has spent hours in the world of virtual reality, getting eyes on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. 

At Wareable, Husain's role is to investigate, report and write features and news about the wearable industry – from smartwatches and fitness trackers to health devices, virtual reality, augmented reality and more.

He writes buyers guides, how-to content, hardware reviews and more.

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