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Visa is floating the idea of paying for stuff with your sunglasses

Michelle Castillo

Visa (NYSE:V) wants to make "keys, phone, sunglasses" your new mantra before leaving the house.

The company unveiled a payment-enabled sunglasses prototype at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas on March 13, and simultaneously at the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro surf competitions in Gold Coast, Australia.

"It ties back to our tagline of everywhere you want to be," said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa. "Without it it's hard for us to fulfill our tagline. Our view is we take form factors that you don't expect to be payment-enabled like sunglasses or maybe like a ring and expose to the market that maybe it can be."

The pair of sunglasses are almost identical to their non-tech counterpart, save a tiny chip on its side. To pay, a person takes off the glasses and taps them on a Visa near field communication (NFC) enabled terminal. No card swiping required.

While the glasses aren't available to the public yet, Visa is testing to see if there is a demand for them and if brands or banks want to sponsor the product.

Though wearable technology hasn't yet taken the world by storm like smartphones did a decade ago -- Fitbit, arguably the most successful wearable maker, recently laid off more than 100 employees after missing earnings estimates -- many companies and investors are still getting into the space. For instance, Warren Buffett invested in jewelry wearable company Ela.

Visa has experimented with other wearable ways to pay, including payment-enabled rings and wristbands.

Watch: Visa's push into digital commerce



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