Tappy adds biometric security to wearable payments devices

Tappy's fingerprint sensor watch strap
STRAPPED FOR CASH: Tappy’s latest watch strap incorporates a contactless payment module and a fingerprint sensor

Wearable payments specialist Tappy Technologies has unveiled a new watch strap design that combines its existing contactless payments module with a passive fingerprint sensor that can be used to increase the security and transaction limit of wearable contactless payments.

The new solution will begin shipping “with a major watch manufacturer” in the second quarter of 2019, CEO Wayne Leung told NFC World.

To make a payment with the new biometric payments solution, users simply press their finger to the sensor, which fits snugly into the surface of the watch strap, as they bring their watch within range of a contactless POS terminal, Leung demonstrated for NFC World at Money20/20 in Las Vegas this week.

The wearer authorises contactless payments with a fingerprint scan
TAP AND TOUCH: The watch wearer authorises a contactless payment with a fingerprint scan

Hong Kong-based Tappy currently works with a number of major watch manufacturers to add contactless payments to their watch straps, including Timex, Mondaine and Guess. It also works with a number of banks to enable them to offer wearable payment bands and other devices to their customers.

Currently the company’s contactless modules are provisioned to a particular issuer during manufacturing. That will change in the first quarter of 2019, Leung told NFC World, when Tappy brings its own Token Service Provider (TSP) online.

This will enable manufacturers to ship contactless-enabled wearables that can be personalized to the consumer over-the-air with their choice of payment card, anywhere in the world. Any bank that has integrated with Visa Token Service will be able to offer the functionality to their customers, Leung said.