Check it out: Wearable debit

The worlds of wearable tech and contactless payment collide with Everlink's DebitWear wristband.


Everlink, a Markham, ON-based developer of payment solutions for credit unions and banks in Canada, has begun a market trial for DebitWear, a new device that brings contactless payment tech to the world of wearables.

DebitWear uses a “mini-tag” containing a Multos ML4 chip, the same that is found in the dual chip/contactless payment cards it develops for financial institutions. The tag is then slipped inside a simple black wristband and can be used to make payments on any debit machine that accepts Interac Flash contactless payments.

The company’s website says DebitWear is ideal for situations where purchases need to be made but carrying a wallet or purse is either inconvenient or insecure, such as at the beach, sporting events, concerts or music festivals. Everlink says it is also testing other small forms for convenient contactless payment, like stickers with an embedded chip that can be placed on the back of a mobile device.

The mini-tag also uses EMV standards – for Europlay, MasterCard, Visa – the same that is now used by Interac, MasterCard and Visa in all new cards they issue, to ensure the device and transactions it makes are secure.

When it comes to using new tech while shopping, concerns about security, and issues with communicating the convenience and need for these solutions, have slowed its adoption among Canadian consumers.

A survey from Microsoft Canada showed that while 59% of Canadians feel new payment methods could make their lives more convenient, 68% say it takes time before they are able to trust them. Deloitte’s TMT survey also showed that while contactless payments using smartphones and mobile wallets was set to skyrocket around the globe, getting people to move away from methods they are used to remains a significant hurdle.

Alyson Gausby, consumer insights lead at Microsoft Canada, recently wrote in a strategy article that among the Canadians that have used some form of proximity-based payment, tap and credit payments (where DebitWear looks to flourish) were most popular, and having the convenience communicated to them was key to their adoption.