KBC rolls out support for wearable payments

KBC contactless NFC wearable payment devices
PAYMENT PREFERENCE: KBC customers can add their debit card to a wearable of their choice

Customers of Belgium’s KBC bank can now add their debit card to their choice of a range of wearables and then use their new ring, watch, keyring or bracelet to make payments at any merchant equipped to accept contactless payments.

Brands supported include Berg, Gemini, K Ring, Laks Pay, Mondaine, Rosan Pay and Tapster.

Customers wishing to take advantage of the new service can visit the bank’s website to view all the options available. Once they have made their choice, they then place an order directly with the supplier.

“The wearable will be delivered to their preferred address,” KBC says. “It is not activated on delivery: only the customer can do that, by following a simple procedure within the secure KBC Mobile environment.

“This ensures that the entire purchase and activation process can be completed safely. Once the wearable has been activated, the customer can use it to make payments.”

The launch follows a year-long pilot project that saw the bank providing 1,000 customers with an NFC-enabled ring, key ring, wristband or watch.

“Their response was so positive that KBC decided to open up payments by wearable to all KBC customers as of the second half of 2020,” the bank says.

‘We were very pleasantly surprised by the number of enthusiastic volunteers who came forward at the beginning of the pilot to test payment with a watch, ring, key ring or bracelet,” says Karin Van Hoecke, KBC Belgium’s general manager for digital transformation.

“We regularly questioned the 1,000 customers who took part in the pilot about their experiences, so that we could make minor adjustments.

“What we learned from this was that the wearable you use to make payments needs to match your personal style. That led us to broaden the offering, so that there are wearables for everyone’s style and budget.

“The volunteers were very satisfied from the outset with the ease of use. A final survey showed they were enthusiastic about continuing to use this way of payment. That’s what prompted KBC to open up the service to all our customers. They too can now enjoy an innovative addition to the various payment options we already offer.”

Key findings from the survey of pilot participants included:

  • Rings, smartwatches and key rings came out as the most convenient wearables with 34% of users preferring the ring, 21% the smartwatch and 18% the key ring.
  • Six out of 10 users had the wearable with them almost always. Half of the users considered convenience to be the most important advantage.
  • Two out of three users said they would certainly or probably consider buying a wearable in the future.
  • Over half would firmly recommend a wearable to relatives and friends.
  • The final survey of users found that the debit card was their most commonly used means of payment, with the wearable in second place and cash bringing up the rear.

“Over 90% of payment terminals in Belgium have been fitted with the necessary technology for contactless payment,” KBC adds.

“During the recent coronavirus lockdown, Belgians have been reaching increasingly for their cards and smartphones.

“After all, contactless payment is an extremely secure and hygienic way to pay for purchases. And making contactless payments using a wearable is even more convenient.”