Inamo, a FinTech startup, makers of wearable devices announced today that it has begun the pilot of the first non-embedded EMV contactless wearable payment device in the US.
INAMO’s first wearable uses a passive micro-card that is inserted into the CURL that is made from a durable silicone, is waterproof and slips onto most watches. Users can load and reload their INAMO debit account from any US bank that they have an account with and make purchases anywhere ApplePay or GooglePay are accepted in the US plus overseas.
INAMO was founded by avid surfer & software engineer Peter Colbert who after a surf, caught up with a few friends for coffee and when it was time to pay he realised that he forgot his wallet. That was the light bulb moment. “Wouldn’t it be cool if I didn’t have to carry my wallet around or wear a smart watch but still pay for things”.
INAMO has been instrumental in conducting innovative wearable pilots. In 2017, INAMO collaborated with VISA to pilot WaveShades, the first “pay-by-sunglasses” at the St Jerome Lane Way Festival. Visa demonstrated WaveShades at the prestigious South by Southwest Tech Conference in Austin, Texas in 2017.
Peter says “the timing is perfect as it comes at a time when contactless payments in the US has seen significant growth in merchant acceptance.”
THE CURL is perfect for people of all ages that are on-the-go who make small purchases, like coffee, grabbing lunch, filling-up at the gas station, a quick trip to the drugstore or fast-food.
INAMO wearables provide people with peace of mind in that they don’t need to carry their wallet, purse, card or mobile and potentially have to leave it unattended; INAMO wearables goes wherever you do.
“While the initial concept of INAMO wearables was designed for people with an active lifestyle, I am pleased to hear feedback from INAMO users who tell me that our wearables are also helping people with a physical disability such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy, MS, Autism and those that are vision impaired, in being independent & raising their self esteem. INAMO provides people with an innovative wearable product that can make their daily life activities such as shopping and paying for purchases a little easier”, adds Peter.
The US, unlike other markets has been slow to adopt contactless however according to Mastercard, “we see more merchants increasingly accepting dual-interface cards – it’s gone up fourfold since 2014.” US merchants have had to upgrade their point-of-sale terminals to accept both chip and contactless payments.
Apple has also predicted that 60% of U.S. Retail Locations will be contactless by end of 2018.
In 2014, there were about 200,000 to 250,000 US merchants accepting contactless payments, that has increased to about 750,000 in 2018 and a steady rise continues. Major merchants, like fast-food chains, coffee shops, grocery and drug stores and gas stations have rolled out EMV and contactless capability and many smaller merchants are working to enable this as well.
According to US company, NMI, mobile wallets, which once held so much promise, have struggled to gain much traction due to clunky user experiences and a lack of general awareness among end users. Additionally, US payment companies have had a chance to see how popular and effective contactless payments have become in other markets.