After SBI, Axis Bank launches its own line of wearable payment devices that only cost $10 a piece

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After SBI, Axis Bank launches its own line of wearable payment devices that only cost $10 a piece
New line of Axis Bank's wearable payment devicesAxis Bank
  • Axis Bank has launched its own line of wearable payment devices called ‘Wear N’ Play’ for ₹750 (around $10) a piece.
  • India’s largest banking institution, the State Bank of India (SBI), also launched its own wearable payments device in October last year called Titan Pay.
  • The launch of these devices comes on the heels of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) increasing the limit for contactless transactions from ₹2,000 to ₹5,000.
After the push on digital payments, Indian authorities now want contactless payments to be the new norm for India. And, the country’s banks are following suit.

After the State Bank of India (SBI) launched Titan Pay in October last year, Axis Bank has now launched its own line of wearable payment devices called ‘Wear N’ Play’.

“The wearables are directly linked to the customers’ bank account and function like a regular debit card,” said Axis Bank. On March 10, India’s third largest private bank launched a band, a key chain and a watch loop, which cost just ₹750 (around $10) apiece.

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After SBI, Axis Bank launches its own line of wearable payment devices that only cost $10 a piece
Axis Bank's new line of wearable contactless payments devicesAxis Bank

Just as SBI collaborated with Titan, Axis Bank developed its devices in collaboration with Thales and Tappy Technologies. The new system should allow Axis Bank customers to make a transaction at any merchant who accepts contactless payments.

The move comes within two months of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announcing that it is raising the limit for contactless payments from ₹2,000 to ₹5,000. However, there are still concerns around the safety of contactless payments.

Type of fees for Axis Bank wearable payments deviceCharges
Issuance fees₹ 750
Annual fees₹ 500
Replacement fee₹ 750
Daily purchase limit₹ 1 lakh
Fraud coverFraud cover up to 100% purchase limit
Source: Axis Bank
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Direct transactions without OTPs
According to a survey conducted by global research firm KPMG, 50% of people are happy about the increase in limits but still have concerns about security and fraud. “This denotes that consumers tend to value security over convenience,” the report said.

Leigh-Anne Galloway and Tim Yunusov from Cyber R&D Lab showed how it was possible to bypass multi-factor authentication controls for tap-and-go transactions at a Black Hat Asia event in October 2020. They were able to devise various ways to get around payment limits.

The bigger threat is to data privacy. Contactless systems collect an immense amount of data from users and that data can be used to track a person’s movements.
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While the systems themselves may be secure, all it would take is one wrong download or malware to sneak on to a user’s smartphone to gain access to whatever part of that data is stored on the device.

How do wearable payment devices work?
Wearables typically use near-field communication (NFC) or radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in order to link the device to a customer’s credit or debit card. This eliminates the need for them to touch public surfaces or the physical point of sale (POS) terminals.

The NFC technology only gets activated when there is a minimal distance between the payment terminal and the wearable.
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Using chip-enabled cards to make the same transaction takes around 45 seconds, but wearables can undercut that time and pull a transaction through in just 10 to 15 seconds.

According to global research firm KPMG, contactless payments are a key growth factor for digital payments in India going forward.

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