Optus gets into smartwatches, shows off a watch you can pay with

The idea of a cashless society is getting closer, what with card payments leading the way, and even smartphones beginning to transfer money, too, but what if you could pay for that cup of coffee simply by tapping your watch?

That’s the concept that Optus is working with, showing off a new smartwatch in concept form that is also a collaboration with Visa.

It’s a special smartwatch that will connect to a specific app called “Cash by Optus” that will work on both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, with the two devices — phone and smartwatch — communicating with each other to send cash to a Visa PayWave system.


“Optus was the first Australian telco to launch a mobile payments app late last year, which has received great feedback from our Android customers,” said Ben White, Vice President of Mobile Marketing at Optus.

“The biggest frustration came from our iPhone customers who wanted to try Cash by Optus, but didn’t have a compatible phone. That’s why we’re developing this wearable technology, which is designed to work on both Apple and Android smartphones.”

From what we understand, the technology relies on the wearable to approve the purchase and make the transaction, making it possible for the wallet and cards to be left at home, and the phone to send the money when in range of the PayWave terminal.

Because it’s PayWave, the most you’ll be able to transfer through this system is around $100, but we have been told that the concept won’t necessarily pull money directly from your debit or credit card, with prepaid being the option. Instead, you’ll load up to $500 onto a prepaid virtual Visa debit card, with the Cash by Optus app pulling the purchases from this.


“Australians have proven to be early adopters of new technology when it comes to payments,” said George Lawson, Visa’s Head of Emerging Products and Innovation.

“With Visa PayWave so widely adopted, the right conditions are in place for a move to mobile Visa PayWave and future devices like wearables. We’re excited to support Optus in its drive to provide a simple payment experience for its customers, across devices.”


Availability of the smartwatch isn’t quite known at this time, but Optus is eyeing a more final version of the concept for later this year.