MasterCard wants to let every new gadget turn into a credit card. It's launching a new program today that'll allow tech companies to make gadgets like smart rings, car keys, and fitness trackers that can also be used to make credit card payments in stores, just like most new smartphones can with programs like Apple Pay and Android Pay. MasterCard is starting out with a few partners, who have already put together prototype units. GM has made a key fob with MasterCard's wireless payments tech built in; Ringly has done the same with a version of its smart ring; and Nymi has created a smart wristband.
Once everything is connected, basically anything could be used to pay
The goal is to make paying — and, of course, paying with your credit card — as easy as possible. Rather than needing to have a specific device on you and at the ready, MasterCard wants you to simply swipe the keys that are already in your hand or the ring that's already on your finger. In doing so, it's starting to get ahead of the boom in connected gadgets. MasterCard is imagining a world in which its tech even allows connected clothing to make payments.
So far, only MasterCards issued through Capital One will be supported on these small connected devices, but MasterCard has plenty of time to get others on board before these gadgets are actually in use. The first products that support MasterCard's new payments tech will arrive in the US next year, with expansion into other countries to follow.