You can buy things with cash, a credit card, your phone, or even your watch, but the latest initiatives from Visa and MasterCard is to let you buy things with everything else you might carry around on you. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, both companies announced further plans to put payment technologies in connected devices, such as clothing, wearables, cars, and appliances.
Visa's new program for connected device makers is called Visa Ready, and lets them integrate secure, tokenized payment features into their products. Visa says that it will initially be used in wearables and cars, and it has signed up companies such as Chronos, Coin, and Pebble to make use of the new platform. Last year, Swatch announced a partnership with Visa to put NFC-based payments in its line of analog watches.
You could buy a new handbag with the handbag you already have
MasterCard's plans are very similar and it is working with a company called Wise Key to put payment technology into fashion products such as bags and watches. Coin is also working with MasterCard to make it easier for other device makers to integrate MasterCard's tokenization system into their devices for payment features.
Aside from slight convenience, it's not clear why anyone would want to buy things with their bag or clothing or some other wearable aside from a watch, but that isn't stopping the credit card companies from trying. Are we headed towards a future where we can buy something without ever taking our wallet out or even thinking about the purchase? It looks like it, if Visa and MasterCard have their way.