Form over function: how contactless payments became stylish

18 May 2021 | Technology

The word ‘luxury’ conjures up myriad images but it’s unlikely that one of them has anything to do with contactless payments or keyless technology. However, a Swiss brand recently took a bold step to unite the disparate worlds of jewellery and finance by launching the Armillion Adamantos, a stylish bracelet that works in much the same way as Apple Pay or a debit card. It’s also fully integrated with Mastercard.

img tempus
* Photo by Jose Mueses from Pexels

Unlike most entry-level plastic, which often have payment limits in the double figures, the Adamantos allows for contactless purchases of up to £200,000 (US$281,753). It’s also a multi-purpose key that can connect to (and unlock) household locks and car doors. In other words, it aims to put everything in your pocket on your wrist. It’s not a smart device in the same mould as the Apple Watch though.

Apple Pay

Payment services have arguably evolved more in the past decade than in all their previous years combined. PayPal was the forerunner of online payments but Skrill and Neteller were founded around the same time. Contactless payments backed by technology didn’t really come into vogue until the launch of the big three’s respective financial apps, namely, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.

Among businesses, it's been a race to adopt these new systems. However, Apple Pay (for instance) is a rare sight online. While a retailer like ASOS has previously encouraged the use of the service by offering discounts, Walmart, Steam, and a host of other retailers do not accept Apple Pay at all. It’s also illegal to use at drive-thru establishments like McDonald’s, as it’s considered the same as using a phone behind the wheel.

The casino industry is one of the more notable adoptees of this kind of transaction. Apple Pay and the like can be used at 777 Casino. And, much like ASOS, a promotion is available too. According to a review at BonusFinder UK, it’s 77 spins on the game Starburst. This is one of the ways that the Adamantos disappoints. As it doesn’t have a screen, it cannot be used to make payments online. It’s strictly a point-of-sale device.

Jewellery Market

That probably won’t matter to anybody who buys a product like the Adamantos. It’s arguably a piece of jewellery first and a bit of technology second. Armillion is ostensibly trying to tap into the growing male jewellery market with its new product. According to the Professional Jeweller website, the company Unique & Co has seen interest from men increase by 8% year-on-year. It’s debatable whether this growth has been driven by the popularity of smartwatches.

The Adamantos never needs to be charged and doesn’t use a battery. While this may appear to break several laws of thermodynamics, it gets its energy from the connections it makes when it’s used to make a payment. Overall, it’s a bit of a niche product that puts form over function but it’s bound to impress friends and loved ones.