Pay with your Sunglasses? We roadtest the new Visa WaveShades at Laneway Festival in Sydney

This year’s Laneway Festival went cashless thanks to event partner Visa, who ensured that vendors across merch, food and drink were operating with Visa payWave – which permits revellers the ability to purchase with their card, phone or… Sunglasses?

Yes, for the first time ever, Visa have put their credit card technology into pairs of sunglasses, working with designers Local Supply, creating what they dub the Visa WaveShades. The idea is that the user can skip bringing a wallet all together, and tap and go with their sunglasses – essential for any music festival, especially one as hot as Sydney was this weekend.

Most who saw the sunglasses branding on the “Ways To Pay” placards around the festival probably thought they were joking – and given the fact this technology is so new, it’s of little surprise. So, to help introduce a few lucky Laneway Festival-goers to the concept, they were giving some of them away, pre-loaded with $50.

We were lucky enough to get a pair ourselves and enjoyed using them throughout the day – whether it was to get a pile of dumplings from the Yum Cha food truck, a passionfruit iced tea cocktail, some fried chicken from Belle’s or, my personal favourite, some BBQ from “Get in the Q”, who definitely win my festival food pick with their incredible BBQ Beef and Pork wraps.

As I travelled from vendor to vendor, what surprised me most was just how varied the reactions were – some were fascinated by the idea, others wildly confused. Some thought it was a joke and handed the glasses back, while others wanted to take photos of it themselves to show their friends. But ultimately they got their heads around the idea and embraced it. After all, we have the technology in our phones, and Google glass was a thing – surely it shouldn’t be that surprising that we can stick credit card technology into, well, anything.

The technology certainly started a lot of conversations, too. I mentioned to one worker, “My only worry is that I’d lose it,” to which they replied, “Yeah but who would pick them up and think, ‘Hey, this has money on it?'”. I hadn’t thought of it that way. It’s an interesting concept for credit card security in itself – placing the technology where you least expect it. Indeed, they would likely sit crushed on the ground, no one wiser that it’s loaded up with cash that would no doubt be easy to transfer to a new pair. Today it’s sunglasses, tomorrow it might be disguised as a car key or a ring on your finger. The sky is the limit for credit card technology and I’m all for it.

I’m also for the confusion. How rare is it these days to surprise anyone, especially with technology. There’s a true joy in that I hope to explore again in the future. Especially when I’m travelling around a festival filled with craft beer, great cocktails and some of the most impressive selection of food I’ve ever encountered at an Australian music festival.

If you want to learn more about the Visa WaveShades, head HERE.

This post is part of a sponsored campaign, but the opinions are completely of the writer.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.