Visa’s contactless sunglasses are so last season

By Oliver Smith 15 March 2017

Contactless sunglasses really aren't the future of payments.

Before Apple Pay and Android Pay arrived on our smartphones in 2015, the craze in the world of finance was to add contactless payments to everything.

Topshop had its contactless jewellery, rings and bracelets that could be tapped to pay, Frank Green designed a contactless coffee mug to make paying a breeze.

Then there was Barclays, determined not to support any newfangled mobile payments platforms, it launched an array of wristbands, keyfobs and stickers.

Clearly Apple Pay and Android Pay have made most of these systems redundant, especially as most are little more than pre-paid accounts that have to be annoyingly topped-up all the time.

But Visa is determined to make contactless ‘stuff’ a thing, so much so that they’re launching their own contactless sunglasses at a surfing competition in Australia.


Clearly these specs are aimed at those living in considerably warmer climates than rainy Britain, and for those who maybe don’t have the pockets in their wetsuits.

As has also been pointed out, if these are supposed to be a payments solution for surfers, Visa doesn’t appear to have considered what they’re to do in the evenings, cold seasons, or overcast days when sunglasses aren’t appropriate.

In reality these sunglasses aren’t a real solution to an actual problem, and Visa seems to know that.

The payments giant has said it’s “testing to see if there is a demand” before it decides whether to launch the sunglasses for real.

So, unless the surfers who need a better way to pay is a much bigger market than we expect, don’t be surprised if contactless sunglasses are quickly relegated as last season’s gimmick.