CaixaBank to launch wearable payments with contactless Visa wristbands

Spain's CaixaBank has announced it is launching Europe's largest wearable payments scheme.

Spain’s CaixaBank has announced it is launching Europe’s largest wearable payments scheme, giving 15,000 contactless wristbands out to customers in the second half of this year.

The Visa contactless wristbands will be usable at the more than 300,000 businesses in the country that have contactless enabled POS terminals.

The Spanish lender said the wristband brings together the consumer trends for contactless and smartwatches, saying: “The contactless wristband unites these two trends, providing users with wearable financial services and all the benefits that these entail, particularly in terms of convenience, security and speed when making payments.

“By diversifying payment formats, customers can choose the system that suits them best: card, mobile or wearable device. CaixaBank currently has more cards in circulation than any other bank in Spain, at more than 12.5m, and has also pioneered mobile payments via its NFC service.”

According to figures estimated by Visa, CaixaBank now has more than 4m contactless cards in circulation, 200,000 contactless-ready POS systems and accounts for 16% of all contactless payments made in Europe.

The wristbands work through a microtag inside which contains the customer’s card details in encrypted form for security. The device can be used to make payments of up to €20 ($27.20) just by bringing it close to the card reader, but users will have to enter their PIN for amounts of over €20.

CaixaBank surprised many in the banking industry this week with the sudden announcement that CEO Juan Maria Nin is to leave the bank “by mutual agreement”.

Nin will be replaced by CFO Gonzalo Gortazar, who has held senior positions at La Caixa for the last five years.

Chairman Isidro Faine praised Nin’s performance in the role, but sources inside the bank are rumoured to have said that relations between the Chairman and CEO had been deteriorating for some months.