Visa Europe unveils a vision for the future of wearable payments, in collaboration with Central Saint Martins

London, 24th September 2015: Managing loose change digitally, categorising payments made with a simple hand gesture and integrating fashion, social media and payments into a brooch.

These are three of the wearable payment design concepts that have resulted from a project between Visa Europe, the leading payments provider in Europe, and renowned art and design institution, Central Saint Martins.

Visa challenged five of Central Saint Martins’ young designers – all either students or graduates of the MA Industrial Design course – to explore the next frontier of frictionless commerce, imagining the form and functionality of contactless wearable devices by 2020. The designs had to be geared specifically towards payments while also challenging the wearable norms that the industry has focused on to date.

The project culminated in a presentation of the three co-created design concepts at the Visa Europe Technology Partner Forum in London last night and is the latest example of how collaborative innovation is driving the rapid pace of change in payments.

Speaking about the project, Nick Mackie, Head of Contactless at Visa Europe, said: “At Visa, we envisage that contactless technology will become a standard feature on many wearable devices by 2020; in fact, there’s no reason why the payment function on a wearable device wouldn’t become as ubiquitous as the alarm function on a digital watch.

“Visa Europe’s expertise in developing innovative payment solutions, combined with Central Saint Martins’ capabilities in human-centric design, is the ideal blend of skill and know-how to explore the wearables opportunity, developing inspirational concepts that people will actually want to experience.

“Contactless is rapidly evolving from cards to other devices as payments become digitised, and Europeans are among the world’s earliest adopters of these new technologies. We see huge potential in the wearable payments space, which is growing in popularity – especially among the tech-savvy millennial market. Wearables take all that’s great about contactless – the speed, convenience and simplicity – and make it better still. The very essence of a wearable is its physical connection to you at any time, which by nature eliminates friction and improves security.”

Nick Rhodes, Programme Director, Product Ceramic & Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins, said: “This exciting collaboration with Visa Europe has revealed not only the great potential for wearable contactless payments, but also the massive opportunities for the technology beyond; many of which reside in interactions so routine and every day that we often lose sight of them.

“Our primary task therefore, has been to identify creative opportunities to satisfy people’s needs and desires through technology, and to articulate these through compelling design which has to be a source of usefulness and pleasure.

“Our collaboration with Visa Europe has given our students and graduates an exceptional opportunity to work with the payment industry’s leading organisation, providing in return a fresh new perspective on the future of wearable payments.”

The project follows news that Visa has mandated all point of sale terminals in Europe to be contactless enabled by the end of 2019, as Europeans increasingly expect to use new technologies over cash when it comes to check-out.

With the growing digitisation of payments, Visa continues to protect consumers from fraud, however they choose to pay. Secure contactless EMV payments are further enhanced by innovations such as Visa’s tokenisation service, which allows secure payments to be made from any digital device.

Further information

About the design concepts

Please note that the design concepts are being showcased to inspire ideas and conversation about the future of wearable payments, but are not for mainstream commercialisation.

‘Small Change’

Small Change is set in the moment of transition between cash and digital money, and helps people manage transactions of smaller denominations digitally. It aims to facilitate this transition away from coins by allowing people to collect their loose change onto one wearable device, at the same time keeping the tangibility that we have come to expect through thousands of years of cash usage. An e-ink screen shows funds available in the user’s account, and can be customised for different use cases – for example, a child-friendly design for youngsters saving their pocket money

Take a look at the design concept video here:


Budgeteer is a wearable payment device placed on the wrist that helps the user to organise and budget their expenses at the point of sale, simply by movement.

By making three intuitive and simple hand gestures, the user can categorise payments into three categories (work, me or home), which will be highlighted in different colours in their online banking statement. The aesthetics of the device are built around the visible electronics; the mechanisms of the device are where the beauty lies.

Take a look at the design concept video here:


Thread is a fashion-orientated brooch that bridges the gap between the online and real-world self through a Bluetooth-powered augmented reality app, turning anonymous fashion lovers into identifiable brand ambassadors. The brooch has been designed to be issued in conjunction with particular brands or stores, and the aesthetics can be altered to reflect that. A finger vein scanner ensures safe purchases through a sophisticated, yet tiny, biometric authentication system.

Outside of the shop, consumers wearing the brooch can detect each other through their phone’s camera, see each other’s purchases and rate them. Many positive ratings on a specificgarment are turned into advantages - such as discounts, VIP tickets, private views - issued by the brand itself to the wearer, building a unique relationship with the labels they love. This is an innovative interpretation of the traditional store card or brand loyalty scheme.

Take a look at the design concept video here:

The designers

The three wearable payment design concepts have been developed by Gareth Ladley (MA Industrial Design Alumnus 2015), Marina Mellado (MA Industrial Design Student), Marta Monge (MA Industrial Design Alumna 2015), Maxime Moreaux (MA Industrial Design Student) and Bronka de Sage (MA Industrial Design Student) working under the creative direction of Silas Grant (CSM Academic and Design Practitioner) – all of Central Saint Martins.

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 37 countries across Europe.

Visa Europe is at the heart of the payments ecosystem providing the services and infrastructure to enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees. Visa Europe is also the largest transaction processor in Europe, responsible for processing more than 16 billion transactions annually – at a rate of 1,622 transactions per second at peak times.

There are more than 500m Visa cards in Europe, while €1 in every €6 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. Total expenditure on Visa cards exceeds €2 trillion annually, with €1.5 trillion spent at point-of-sale.

Since 2004, Visa Europe has been independent of Visa Inc. and incorporated in the UK, with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. Both companies work in partnership to enable global Visa payments in more than 200 countries and territories.

For more information, visitwww.visaeurope.comand @VisaEuropeNews

About Central St Martins

Central Saint Martins is internationally renowned for the creative energy of its students, staff and graduates with an exceptional reputation for educating foundation, undergraduate, postgraduate and research students in arts, design and performance. CSM’s award-winning campus at Kings Cross opens opportunities for creative collaboration and has provided an outstanding social scene for students.

In 2013 UAL: Central Saint Martins received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for industrial and product design contributing to the strength of the creative economy, the highest national honour in education.

Alumni include Alan Aldridge, David Carter, Hussein Chalayan, Terence Conran, Michael Fassbender, Colin Firth, Antony Gormley, Tom Hardy, Dylan Jones, Isaac Julien, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Bill Moggridge, Raqib Shaw, Yinka Shonibare, Joe Wright.

CSM is part of University of the Arts London, an international centre for innovative teaching and research in arts, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts. The University is made up of six Colleges: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art.

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