Last month, the State Bank of India (SBI), in partnership with IBM and the watchmaker Titan, released Titan Pay, the country’s first contactless payments wristwatch.
While not a direct response to COVID-19, Titan Pay is nevertheless a proof-of-concept of how contactless payments can help slow the spread of viruses.
Available exclusively to SBI customers, Titan Pay works by being tapped against point-of-sale machines, eliminating the need to exchange cash or swipe debit cards. It’s less expensive than most fully functioning smartwatches—starting at the US equivalent of $40—making it potentially much more accessible.
IBM was involved in every aspect of Titan Pay, from initial ideation, to hardware, software, application development and ongoing maintenance.
“IBM is extremely proud of our collaboration with SBI to help deliver Titan Pay,” said Likhit Wagle, General Manager, Global Banking, at IBM. “Applications of contactless payment technology like this one is just one example of how a number of technologies—including hybrid cloud, blockchain and AI—are completely transforming global banking. Our teams are at the forefront this change, helping our banking clients become more agile, innovative and secure.”
Titan Pay is also the latest development in the long relationship between IBM and SBI. In recent years, IBM has helped SBI develop YONO, a secure mobile platform that combines banking with other “lifestyle” services. Now used by more than 18 million people in India, the YONO app has helped SBI increase revenues 40% since its launch two years ago.
And, because reducing human-to-human contact in the marketplace is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, Titan Pay promises to benefit public health in India.