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‘Watch this’: timepieces voted item consumers would most like to turn into a contactless way to pay

15 Aug 2016 03:00

  • Top 10 items include vintage watches, heirloom jewellery, a dog’s lead and hats
  • Half of Brits would like to give current possessions a 21st century revamp
  • A quarter of those surveyed prefer wearable payment devices that suit or can be adapted to their personal style
  • Barclaycard launches bPay loop - a contactless chip holder that slides onto items, instantly turning them into a new way to pay

With contactless technology revolutionising the way we spend and shop, research from Barclaycard today reveals jewellery and watches to be the personal items that the British public would most like to turn into a contactless way to pay.

Watches top the poll (62 per cent) of items that Brits would most like to “future-fy” for fast-paced, convenient payments, followed by inherited jewellery (21 per cent) and wedding rings (19 per cent). Ruff-ling a few feathers in the list was the dog’s lead; with our cherished comfiest jumper, favourite pair of sunglasses and well-worn hat all fitting into the top 10.

The findings come as consumer demand for a discreet wearable payment option that can be added to wearables they already own – in particular watches and fitness bands – has led Barclaycard to develop and launch bPay loop, a small chip holder that can be used to turn certain items into a contactless way to pay, without the need to carry a wallet.

The research suggests that a new trend of retrofitting items we wear with new functionality is emerging. The poll shows that almost half of Brits (49 per cent) would like to give current possessions a 21st century revamp. A quarter (25 per cent) also said they would wear their vintage items and family heirlooms more if they could customise them with contactless technology.

As well as breathing new life into cherished items, almost half (46 per cent) of British consumers are keen for a contactless payment option which is not hard to find in the recesses of their bags. Brits spend an average of three and a half hours each year rummaging for their wallet or purse. The other items that we find the hardest to locate are our keys followed by the often elusive pen and our phone.

Top 10 treasured items Brits would like to be payment-enabled are:


Watch (modern, old or vintage)


Bracelet/ring of a family member


Wedding ring


Dog's lead


Comfiest jumper


Favourite sunglasses


Favourite hat




Vintage handbag


Grandad’s pocket watch

Of those who use contactless payments, 67 per cent would prefer to add contactless functionality to something they already own or wear rather than purchasing a brand new wearable payment device. In fact, two in five consumers (42 per cent) are put off by expensive wearable payment devices, or if the device is too bulky (39 per cent) or large (35 per cent). A quarter of those surveyed (25 per cent) favour wearable payment devices that suit or can be adapted to their personal style.

Contactless spending is quickly becoming the payment method of choice, with the latest figures from The UK Cards Association showing that spending is up by 247 per cent year-on-year to £1.9bn a month. Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of all card purchases are now made using contactless technology, which is up from just less than one in ten (7 per cent) in May 2015.

Tami Hargreaves, Commercial Director, Digital Consumer Payments at Barclaycard, said:

“Consumers have taken contactless payments to their heart and they are now making seven million transactions a day using it. Whether it’s your watch, bracelet, dog lead or pair of sunglasses, paying using your favourite item isn’t as far-fetched as it seems, as bPay loop can help turn everyday items into a quick, easy and secure way to pay.”

bPay loop has been designed to fit straps with an opening buckle measuring up to 22 mm wide. It can be used for transactions of £30 and under, wherever contactless payments can be made – currently over 400,000 locations across the UK. It costs £19.99 and is available to buy from the bPay website at www.bpay.co.uk/loop. Both the wallet and devices are free to use, with no transaction, usage or top-up fees for consumers, including when used abroad.