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.
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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.
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