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Brief Published: 24 Dec 2014

Barclaycard Trials Payment Gloves

Barclaycard's ‘contactless pay-gloves’

Consumers could soon be paying for their last-minute Christmas shopping with a wave, following Barclaycard's announcement last week that it is trialling contactless payment gloves.

The woolly gloves are fitted with an RFID chip to allow contactless payments of up to £20 ($31). They are also touchscreen enabled, so shoppers can still browse their smartphones while wearing them. Barclaycard chose to produce the gloves after a survey of 2,000 UK consumers rated them as the most popular wearable item to pay with, followed by rings and bracelets.

Barclaycard hopes the gloves will help streamline the shopping experience – consumers simply tap the contactless reader to pay rather than having to search for their wallet while carrying multiple shopping bags. Prototypes are being trialled over the Christmas period in several stores around the UK, and if they prove popular, they could be available by Christmas 2015.

The concept echoes the work of British designer Heidi Hinder, whose ongoing Money No Object project aims to "inject some enthusiasm" back into financial exchanges. Hinder's Hug & Pay concept allows transactions to take place via handshakes, high-fives or even hugs – read more in Play it Forward.

Wearable tech is fuelling innovation in the banking sector. In November, UK building society Nationwide announced it was making its mobile banking app available on Android Wear, Google's operating system for wearables – enabling customers to check their bank balance via their smartwatch.

For more on wearable technology's impact on the banking sector, read Bite-Size Banking.