What Time Is It?

Time for you to get a watch with a credit card built right in.


Have you ever lost your credit or debit card? Have you ever left it at a restaurant or bar?

Don’t be shy. Everyone has.

But Garanti Bank – the second largest private bank in Turkey – has eliminated this problem and reinvented card payments in the process. The award-winning bank partnered with MasterCard to create a unique wristwatch product with built-in payment capabilities.

The Bonus Trink Watch uses PayPass, a contactless technology much like what Starbucks uses to link its prepaid loyalty card with customers’ smartphones. To pay for the coffee, those individuals just hold their phone in front of a small point-of-sale (POS) device next to the cash register.

The watch works the same way, which means potential users are also dependent upon retailers to put the POS technology in place. For North American consumers, such options are still limited, but the U.S. market is making some headway. So let’s pretend the resources were already available. Would you want a credit card watch?

Mobile point-of-sale payment methods are capturing consumer attention, especially from the younger generation who never put down their phones. Current options include different hardware products and apps like Level Up, which links individual credit or debit card info to a QR code that merchants use to process the payment. 

Mobile devices seem like a better accessory to incorporate into financial services than an apparel-based payment solution, but not everything we do is based on logic. Where the credit watch might have an edge is in its exclusivity. It’s different, and because it’s different, it’s guaranteed to be cool.

This particular innovation would also more likely appeal to an older generation, including those that still wear watches for function and not just fashion.

Like the majority of Gen Y, I’m not interested in wearing a clunky watch. But the opportunity to connect my plastic with another product remains an intriguing thought. Most often, I use my phone for financial services, but if a credit union created credit bangles, I’d buy both silver and gold.

This technology may not be a necessity just yet, but credit unions can certainly advance their Gen Y appeal by considering such fun and unconventional payment products.



Sept. 10, 2012



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