SAN FRANCISCO—The Visa-powered WaveShades sunglasses—which feature a chip that enables consumers to pay for a purchase simply by waving the sunglasses over a point-of-sale reader—drew rapt attention at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, this week. And the new sunglasses will continue a very limited introduction at this weekend’s Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast surfing championships in Queensland, Australia, according to one of Visa’s partners in the new wearable payment technology.
“We’re launching WaveShades with Visa at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast from March 17 to 19,” the finance-technology firm Inamo announced on its website. Inamo developed the CURL tap-and-go payment technology used in the WaveShades sunglasses that are set up to allow payment with a Visa account, according to the fin-tech firm’s website.
Fifty lucky “influencers’ received a free pair of the WaveShades at SXSW this week, according to a report by the website Mashable. According to the report that the initial model of the sunglasses contain an NFC chip (near field communications) and are connected to a re-loadable, pre-paid card.
“Our intent here is to demonstrate what we all know is coming: Anything that is a connected device or can carry a chip can be a payment device, as well,” Visa’s senior vice president of digital solutions Sam Shrauger told Mashable.
According to Visa, the payWave technology added to sunglasses or mobile devices can be used at any merchant where the Visa payWave symbol is displayed on the terminal readers. A third partner in the WaveShades sunglasses is Local Supply, an Australian manufacturer of sunglasses.
“We’ve recently teamed up with the legends over at Visa to launch something straight outta 3005 for Laneway,” Local Supply said on its website. “We know that packing light is a must when letting loose at festivals and that’s why we’ve created WaveShades. Basically, imagine that your debit card and sunglasses had a baby. And that baby could buy you beers. WaveShades pairs up our Local Supply frames with Visa payWave technology so you can tap and pay with your sunglasses in between head nods!”
Visa said its payWave technology is “quicker and more convenient than cash.” PayWave, which is supported by more than 10 financial institutions, allows consumers to simply swipe their “card or device in front of a reader and wait for confirmation” of the payment, according to Visa.
VMail reached out to Visa for additional information about the longer-term plans for WaveGlasses and received no comment as of VMail press time.