AUSTIN, TX: Wearable tech holds significant promise for Visa as a channel both for marketing and making payments, according to a leading marketer at the financial services provider.

Shiv Singh, Visa's svp/global brand and marketing transformation, argued the rise of wearables – epitomised by Google Glass and a new breed of smart watches – could yield huge opportunities in the not too distant future.

More specifically, he suggested the idea of people wearing connected technology wherever they go fits neatly with the role currently fulfilled by its own cards, which are a constant presence in a consumer's wallet or purse.

"We have the good fortune of being with you practically every day of the year, probably all your life," he said. (For more, including how Visa used Google Glass in a Winter Olympics marketing campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: Singh leads Visa towards a wearable-tech revolution.)

"So when you think about wearable technology in this context, the opportunities are mind-blowing."

This notion also plays into Visa's tagline, "Everywhere you want to be", which was introduced earlier this year and reflects its ambition to deliver universal access to secure and convenient digital payments.

"As a big global brand that has high recognition and high brand recall, we are always looking for ways for a deeper, more trusted and more emotional relationship with consumers," Singh said.

"What matters for us is creating a relationship … where, as a brand, we are doing something unique that adds value and that makes people want to be there."

As near-field communication, beacons and similar technologies grow in the retail space, companies like Visa may well have opportunities to revolutionise the payment process.

Forecasts from Juniper Research, the market intelligence and consulting firm, predicted that expenditure on smart wearable devices should reach $19bn by 2018, measured against a projected $1.4bn in 2014.

The firm also believes shipments of these gadgets – including smart watches and glasses – could approach 130m units worldwide in four years' time, roughly ten times the total logged in 2013.

Data sourced from Warc/SXSW