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Now Make Payments Using Your Wrist Watch

Good news everyone! You can now make payments with your watch, or that is to say, a watch. The LAKS Watch2pay combines a very simple quartz fake watch with the Mastercard Paypass contact-less payment system to allow you to pay up by placing your fake watch in close proximity to a vendor's Paypass terminal. Only catch is that the fake watch looks like this.

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The LAKS Watch2pay is a 42.7 x 15.5 mm fake watch featuring an ABS (polymer plastic) case and a silicone strap. The Watch2pay sports an acrylic crystal and is powered by a Seiko-sourced quartz movement with date. Available in a wide range of colors, the Watch2pay is available to UK residents for £99. From a fake watch nerd standpoint, there isn't much to get excited about as the Watch2pay is essentially just a platform for a small Mastercard Paypass chip that slots into the back of the fake watch like a SIM card. We consider this timepiece a good execution of a proof of concept.

Mastercard Paypass uses a technology called EMV which is the result of a collaboration between Europay, Mastercard and Visa. This contactless payment system is not NFC (Near Field Communication) based but rather relies on its own platform. The watch-borne side of the equation is a small chip that is powered passively by the vendor's reader and then communicates via RFID in a similar manner to credit cards that have the modern "chip and pin?system. Unfortunately, the Watch2pay relies on a connection to a Mastercard prepaid account and not a traditional credit account. Not only will this account need to be pre-loaded with funds, but the Watch2pay can only authorize payments of up to $20. Larger purchases or scenarios where a Paypass terminal is not available will need to be done with the included traditional Mastercard Prepaid card. The upside is that you can use the fake watch as a sort of pre-paid gift card gift.

Given that you can now get Paypass Tags which are essentially stickers that make your phone the platform for a contactless payment, a solution like the Watch2pay was essentially an inevitability. Interesting from a horological perspective? Nope. But it is intriguing to see yet another way in which technology is starting to bend towards increased daily convenience. The LAKS Watch2pay seems like a solution to a problem that is at best rare. While I can see the value and simplicity of integrating payment technology into common everyday objects, I would rather have it linked to my phone so I can wear a more interesting watch, even if only when popping out to get a cup of coffee.

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However, the allure of swiping your wrist past a surface to pay for something is sort of cool. A good future option would be to integrate the Paypass payment system into a fake watch strap or bracelet. While these will not work with all timepieces, having a range of high-quality fake watch straps that can covertly accept the special card and RFID module might be an interesting way of using the technology and not having to abandon your existing timepiece.

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Written by James Stacey

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