A major UK banking company is moving beyond credit cards and smartphone payments introducing electronic gloves that allow customers to pay for their goods by a simple tap on a contactless reader.
The wearable accessory aims to make Christmas shopping easier by removing the need for the customer to put down bags and search through his or her wallet in order to find payment.
The warm woollen gloves will be equipped with an electronic chip on the top linked to the user’s credit and debit card for convenient access to the bank account.
Similarly to contactless cards, the technology would only permit smaller payments up to £20, without the need to enter a PIN number.
Barclays is currently trialling the prototype with the aim of making the gadget available to customers later next year.
The technology merges two major trends in the financial and electronics sector – wearables and contactless payments.
While wearable technology is widely touted to become the next big trend in electronics, contactless has already become a major success with 45 million contactless cards now in circulation and more than 300,000 places where contactless payments can be made across the UK.
Barclaycard said that the contactless readers which currently exist would not have to be specially adapted in order to be compatible with the gloves. The chip used in the gloves could also be easily integrated into other items of clothing.
Barclaycard originally considered creating tap and pay bracelets, handbags, hats or even elbow pads but consumer research suggested the clients would most appreciate a pair of warm woolly gloves.
The gloves are also touchscreen-enabled so that shoppers can wear them when using their mobile phones. Barclaycard has been working on versions of the gloves for men and women, with the women's version having a softer and more "fleecy" appearance than the men's.
The company said that following initial trials the technology may be made available to non-Barclaycard customers as well.