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Credit cards could be overtaken by wearable payment technology within five years, a leading financial expert said.

Visa is providing everyone who attends the Olympics in Brazil next month with a wristband allowing them to make payments from anywhere within the Olympic complex.

And the Internet of Things means customers could be constantly connected to their banks or other institutions, Mark Sievewright, the Welsh president of credit union solutions at the US financial services company Fiserv said.

He added: “The revolution that we have seen since in payments means that now, right now today and progressively over the next five to seven years, the plastic card might not be the universal tool with which to pay.”

Mr Sievewright addressed the World Credit Union Conference in Belfast.

He said: “We are now talking about moving money through technology that we wear.

“Just imagine that phone that we had back in 1994 which now fits very well into our pockets, wallets and purses can now be used to move money.”

The Internet of Things is designed to aid communication, improve ease of use and provide immediacy, the expert said..

It involves connecting household items like white goods or heating controls to the internet to allow them to be remotely operated.

Mr Sievewright mused on its impact on credit unions. He said: “What if the door on my fridge was suddenly interactive because it had a screen or a panel that allowed me to undertake online transactions, pay bills?”

He said the pace of change had been dramatic. The first toaster was connected to the internet in 1989 at a conference in California. The remote technology could only turn it on and off.

He added: “A human being actually had to put the bread in the toaster which I thought was part of the failure of it. We can look forward to a future where the connectivity that we have with the internet, with our credit union, is literally everywhere, 24/7.”

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