The wearable technology market is rapidly expanding – when walking down the street; it feels like everyone has a smart watch or ring tracking their health, sleep, exercise, and even “energy levels.” But one specific type of wearable is gaining traction: payments. Payment-enabled wristbands, rings, and watches are seeing growing popularity as convenient alternatives to traditional payment methods. However, the technology available for wearables today requires each manufacturer to integrate directly with each and every bank/issuer in the market. Sometimes we’re talking about 1000’s of banks in each market. That creates an impossible mission for innovative wearables manufacturers to offer a credible ‘pay’ capability. At Curve, we recognized the potential of these passive wearables and saw an opportunity to leverage our wallet functionality to revolutionise the payment experience and help manufacturers get to 100% bank coverage. Curve’s wallet functionality also allows customers to attach multiple existing credit and debit cards to the Curve app, and charge those cards through the single Curve card. This “multiple cards in one” functionality makes Curve uniquely positioned to take on the passive wearables market – whereas previously, people could only connect one single card to their smart ring or watch, now they can connect all their cards.
It could have been a risky move, entering an entirely new market – wearables – when we were previously so focused on our original project. Expanding our horizons and jumping headfirst into a new opportunity it’s paid off tremendously. Over the last two years, Curve has focused on forging strong partnerships with leading wearable companies, including Swatch, Garmin, Samsung, Wearonize, Fidesmo, Tappy, Xiaomi, and Digiseq. These collaborations have allowed us to seamlessly integrate our game-changing technology that enables multiple cards to be connected to a single wearable device, a feat that was previously impossible with passive wearables. By doing so, we’re creating a unified payment experience that supports a wide range of payment wristbands, rings, and watches.
Our strategic partnerships have significantly expanded the wearable payments ecosystem. These collaborations have enabled partners to offer an array of customizable wearable options, catering to a diverse range of preferences and styles. While smart devices are bound by the need for software, charging, and screens for interaction, passive wearables can take on almost any form. This flexibility allows manufacturers to really let their creativity flow. Innovators in the space have pushed creative boundaries to enable everything from shirts to jewellery to accept payments. The success of these partnerships is evident in the numbers – wearable customers who attach Curve are more engaged and exhibit higher retention.
Curve is actively exploring ways to support our passive wearable partners in targeting large, traditional fashion brands. Many fashion brands have signature aesthetics that customers use to identify a brand. Through Curve’s successful partnership with Swatch, we’ve proven demand for payments-enabled traditional watches. By combining our payment technology with the design expertise of fashion brands, we aim to create a new breed of fashionable and functional wearables. This strategy will not only broaden the appeal of wearable payment devices but also help our partners tap into new market segments.
In addition to our efforts in the passive wearables space, Curve is exploring opportunities with a number of smartwatch brands. By collaborating with these companies, we can bring the benefits of Curve’s wallet functionality to a wider range of devices, enhancing the payment experience for smartwatch users as well, without much investment required from the smartwatch brand.
Breaking into the passive wearable industry was a marked departure from our traditional channels and serves as a prime example of how it’s worth taking a chance to explore non-traditional customers. As we continue to push the boundaries of innovation, our vision for the future of payments extends beyond just wearables. We no doubt will enter new, currently unconsidered categories. We are committed to raising the bar of customer experience while guiding customers on their journey to financial freedom. Forging strong partnerships with leading wearable companies is a significant contributor to making this vision a reality. By exploring different market segments, embracing new form factors, and targeting untapped opportunities, Curve can confidently shape the future of finance for the better and serve as a model for others to follow.