Garmin Goes Live with Contactless Payment Feature for Latest Smartwatch

EXCLUSIVE – Contactless payment capabilities are now available on wearable maker Garmin International’s latest smartwatch.

Today Garmin International, along with payment technology provider FitPay, said that its payments feature, called Garmin Pay, is now live on Garmin’s smartwatch Vívoactive 3.

Whether the announcement, which comes just in time for Black Friday, will help lure buyers into choosing the product over the variety of smartwatches in the market from Fitbit to Apple Watch remains to be seen.

Olathe, Kansas-based Garmin first revealed the new smartwatch in August at the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Consumer Electronic Unlimited show in Berlin, Germany.

Garmin Pay is powered by payment technology and authentication platform provider, FitPay, and can be used by all MasterCard and Visa card holders. These users can make contactless payments at near-field communication-enabled (NFC) point-of-sale (POS) locations wherever these cards are accepted.

For now, the feature is only available to Mastercard cardholders from issuing banks and credit unions supporting the new service around the world. These banks in U.S. include BECU, Capital One, First Tech Federal Credit Union, and U.S. Bank in the United States. Global banking partners include Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Cornèrcard, Sberbank of Russia, and Swiss Bankers Prepaid Services Ltd.

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.

“It’s also important to note that this represents the first successful commercialization of a payment feature on a wearable/IoT device by a third-party provider,” Chris Orlando, FitPay co-founder and chief of staff told Bank Innovation. “The existing “Pays” are propriety capabilities and not available to other manufacturers. It creates an opportunity for a whole new range of devices to be payment-enabled, which in turn could drive further consumer adoption.”

Vívoactive 3 costs about $300.

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