First FitBit, Now Garmin Releases Smartwatch with Payments

EXCLUSIVE  – Add another fitness focused tech wearable to MasterCard’s list. Today, wearable maker, Garmin International announced a new smartwatch, Vivoactive 3, that will have a contactless payment feature for MasterCard users. Visa is supporting payments for he device as well.

The Olathe, Kansas-based Garmin announced the new smartwatch today at the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Consumer Electronic Unlimited show in Berlin, Germany. The new feature, called Garmin Pay, is powered by payment technology and authentication platform provider, Fit Pay, and can be used by all MasterCard and Visa card holders, who can make contactless payments at near-field communication-enabled (NFC) point-of-sale (POS) locations wherever these cards are accepted.

Garmin’s new watch is a part of its fitness product line that sells devices geared to a physically active, outdoorsy audience. The user will have to manually upload or scan their card information on the Garmin Connect Mobile app. The app is available on both Apple and Android phones. Upon approval, the information is synched with the smartwatch and then the user can start using the feature by tapping on it.

The launch of this new fitness-focused smartwatch is indicative of the market gaining momentum, pointing to an increasing number of customers who want a comprehensive fitness wearable that combines the fitness component with other important features such as payments.

In fact, FitPay, which is providing Garmin with the payment technology platform, is currently working with 15 OEMs to add payments to their products, Bank Innovation learned. More recently, along with MasterCard it is providing its services to Wearatec, a smartwatch strap.

MasterCard has certainly taken note of this market trend too. Only yesterday, it announced that it was providing its contactless payments to perhaps the most well-known fitness wearable in the industry, Fitbit.

MasterCard, along with American Express and Visa, said  it would be integrating payments with Fitbit’s first smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic.

In Today’s announcement about Garmin, Kiki Del Valle, senior vice president, commerce for every device, MasterCard said:

Technology is enabling fitness companies to provide athletes with the most comprehensive performance trackers we have seen in our time…Adding payment capability to these devices is a natural next step to make training and fitness experiences more relevant, personal, and convenient.

Indeed, according to Statista report, the global market for wearable technology (which includes fitness-focused products) is expected to exceed $4 billion this year and reach $6 billion by 2018. Last year, according to the same report, Fitbit held the largest market share of wearables worldwide.

Garmin’s Vívoactive 3 has not hit the stores yet, but is available for preorder at BestBuy. The watch costs $300, like FitBit Iconic, which also has a payments feature.

Garmin, which trades on Nasdaq under the symbol GRMN, has a market capitalization of $9.7 billion today.

3 - Readers Like This Post

Leave a Reply