Test Driving the new American Express Amex Wearable Band

Test driving the American Express Amex Wearable Band

How would you like to turn your American Express Card Membership into an exclusive fashion accessory?

This week American Express gave 1,000 lucky Card Members an exclusive and special gift at the Vogue American Express Fashion Night Out–an Amex Band you can pay with. 

Fancy huh?

Pay in style

AMEX payment wrist band
Testing out the Amex Band with a shopping trip to Pitt Street Mall, Sydney

With so many of us ditching our purse or wallet for an easier way to pay, it’s not surprising that Aussies are the fastest adopter of cashless payment options which has seen a 10% increase in transactions in the last 12 months, including wearable technology.

With American Express Card Members being fairly tech and fashion savvy, the Amex Band is sure to be popular with cardholders.

American Express partnered with artisanal, fine leather-goods manufacturers Jean Rousseau and HIRSCH to produce sustainably sourced, genuine leather unisex wristbands to make it even easier, and stylish, to shop and save at this year's Vogue American Express Fashion Night Out event.

The contactless payment-enabled bands were either single or double loop (I went for the double loop) with a 304L-grade stainless steel pin buckle and are available in navy blue or black. 

The French and Austrian manufacturing partners passion for meticulous craftsmanship and expertise in fine leather allowed American Express to design and create the luxurious bands.

Aussies are the fastest adopters of cashless payment options.

How does it work?

Just like your plastic card, the Amex Band is designed to be used for tap and pay purchases; and the same rules apply.  

Payments under $100 are just tap-and-go, and payments over $100 will require you to enter your pin.

The payment chip is embedded underneath the American Express logo on the band. 

Simply tap against the payment terminal at the check-out.

No batteries, no charger, no worries.

You don't need to charge your Amex Band as it operates using the power from payment terminals.

What I loved about the Amex Band

Amex payment band in use in Australia
The new way to pay for Sushi

I was lucky enough to give one of the Amex Bands a test drive this week.

In terms of look and feel it is a simple and stylish piece which was comfortable to wear.

Honestly, the first time I used it (to purchase my morning coffee) I felt as though I needed to explain to my barista what I was doing.

I was slightly concerned I was going to get a strange look as I lifted my hand to the EFTPOS machine to ‘tap’ my wrist.

But he was just very nonchalant about it–I guess it’s not that far of a stretch from using your digital wallet.

I also have my Amex card linked to a digital wallet and even though I find that a convenient and quick way to pay–this was quicker. I just swiped my wrist across the payment terminal and voila–paid.

Something I was very conscious of while wearing it is that I was walking around with a fairly valuable bracelet on; so fair to say I won't be letting my sisters borrow this one. 

Amex Band Coffee Cup
My morning coffee paid for via the Amex Band
Honestly, the first time I used it I felt as though I needed to explain to my barista what I was doing.
- Caroline Raffan, Head of Marketing, Credit Card Compare

What about Security?

But if it’s that easy, what about security?

I went to the source on this one and asked the team at Amex while they were setting me up.

They explained that the wristband has a token embedded into the bracelet making it just the same as if I were to tap my card.

Tokenisation allows Amex to protect private information against risks of fraud and eliminates the need to store your real card account numbers at payment terminals in stores.

As always use of your Amex Card and Amex Band is covered by their card fraud protection policy, which protects you from unauthorised spending.

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My Verdict

Overall, it is a bit fun to use. 

Will I continue to use it? Yes. 

I liked it and found it a convenient (and fancy) way to pay. 

No fumbling in my handbag to get my phone, opening the app on my phone and inputting my passcode before payment. #firstworldproblems

The Downside

As usual, some retailers don't accept Amex. 

So unless I was planning on going somewhere I knew took Amex ahead of time, I would be a little hesitant to leave all my other cards at home–as I could easily get caught out. 

Also for the moment, it seems that these bands were an exclusive item just for the Vogue Fashion Night Out event.

So in terms of the masses getting their hands on one, it’s a bit unclear if this will become available to all card members in the future.

I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.