Contactless payments have surged during the pandemic, and Purewrist looks to ride the wave with the first payment wearable for prepaid.
Purewrist launched its contactless payment bracelet, Purewrist GO, at the end of 2020. It consists of a lightweight silicone band with an embedded chip attached to a prepaid account. Consumers can fund their Purewrist account with their existing bank account or credit or debit card and use it to make payments by holding the bracelet to a contactless card reader anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
The idea behind Purewrist is to “bring a mass-market wearable to market,” according to Purewrist CEO Suresh Palliparambil. That means eliminating barriers to adoption.
Purewrist’s Focus on Price and Simplicity
Wearables aren’t new. Apple Watch has been around since 2015 and Fitbit started offering Fitbit Pay using its watches and trackers in 2017.
But where Apple Watch has a price point of $170 to $400 and a pay-enabled Fitbit ranges from $165 to $360, Purewrist costs just $25.
That may be because Purewrist focuses just on payments. It’s not a fitness tracker or smartwatch.
It’s designed to be a “convenience item,” notes Palliparambil. “We expect consumers to use Purewrist for everyday purchases on the move.” So, Purewrist leverages the convenience of wearables–making payments without fumbling with a wallet or phone. But it also removes some of the problematic aspects of wearables–such as charging a device or replacing batteries. Purewrist doesn’t require either.
Purewrist May Get a Boost from Timing
The timing may be just right for Purewrist’s mass-market payment wearable. The pandemic has made us all germ-wary, and that includes how we pay.
According to a study by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 69% of merchants saw an increase in contactless payments during 2020. Most retailers expect that trend to continue.
And merchants are upgrading their traditional card readers to accept contactless in lockstep. The NRF shows the number of U.S. merchants accepting contactless jumped from 40% in 2019 to 58% last year. “Anyplace I go to takes contactless now,” said Palliparambil, “even the mom and pops.”
Notably, Purewrist GO is washable–an added benefit when cleanliness is at a premium.