Now before we even jump into this, I need to disclose this is only a “proof-of-concept” smartwatch. What does that all mean? Well, Optus is testing out its own technology and app on what is essentially a “dummy” smartwatch. Why do they bother doing this? So that when they place this technology on the big-wig Apple and Samsung smart-watches, things don’t go wrong when they’re dealing with people’s money.
So back to the story.
Optus got in touch with us and asked us if we were keen to try out their Cash by Optus app. We were a bit sceptical at first but when they told us they’d also send through a smart-watch loaded with about $100 to spend as we please, we jumped at the bit. Who doesn’t like freebies (although we had to give the watch back).
If you haven’t heard, Cash by Optus is a contactless payment app, powered by Visa payWave, that enables you to finally make use of that NFC chip in your phone to pay for goods or services at a credit card terminal instead of using old, clunky cash, coins or credit card.
There’s a tonne of companies, including the four major bank’s here in Australia, trying to pull this off but no-one who has delivered on a service as fluent as Optus’ in our opinion. There’s a few benefits to paying with your phone instead of cash or a credit card: (i) it’s more secure; (ii) it’s faster to tap & go; (iii) you can more easily track your spending habits; and (iv) you only have to carry one device around with you (goodbye wallet!).
Cash by Optus works just like a Prepaid debit card. You can load up to $500 at any one time on the app and make contactless purchases under $100 at any terminal that accepts payWave.
The smartwatch supplied to us by Optus takes this one step further, allowing you to leave your phone in your pocket and pay simply with by tapping your watch against the terminal. When in close range, the connected watch and linked smartphone sync up via Bluetooth to update the account balance on the connected watch and transaction details on the linked phone.
The watch itself was nothing special, so don’t worry if it looks a little derpy on our wrist. What’s important to focus on is the ease of payment! Although you might look like a total jackass when you have to explain why you’re paying with your watch, the whole process was actually surprisingly smooth.
Even if you’re carrying a few things in your hands, the terminal was very quick to recognise the watch as a payments device. We got a coffee in the morning and few beers in the arvo and I have to tell you, after having it on my wrist for the day, it’s something I wish I had access to all the time.
Welcome to the future.