Smartwatches and wearables have a long standing relationship with payments. It is one of the major features that has been pushed over the years as a justification of the ‘wearables-are-the-next-big-thing’ argument. And the latest entity to contribute to that relationship is Garmin.
One of the top five wearable makers around the world, Garmin has launched the Vivoactive 3 fitness smartwatch to be debuted at IFA 2017, and with it, Garmin Pay. The watch itself comes with an NFC chip and a secure component to enable payments by simply tapping a payment machine. The platform itself is based on FitPay, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the smart wallet company NXT-ID. Garmin has also mentioned that the platform will support major banks VISA and MasterCard debit and credit cards, to begin with.
The cards themselves are managed from the Garmin Connect mobile app. Additionally, a handy feature is that once the payment is authorized with a passcode, your wearable will be in active payment mode for 24 hours without needing you to enter the code again and again. Although, if you take the watch off, the payment is locked again. So if just in case, you misplace it or it gets stolen, you don’t have to worry about it being used for payments. Here’s the full video showing how all of this can be done on the vivoactive 3.
In terms of security, Garmin has enabled a couple of pretty handy measures. For instance, three wrong attempts to enter the passcode on your wearable will lock the wallet on the wearable, which has to be unlocked from the Garmin Connect app. Three wrong attempts to enter the old passcode on the Garmin connect app will, in turn, delete the mobile wallet and you’ll have to add it again.
The underlying startup
Fitpay is a contactless payment platform that is targeted towards the IoT and wearables market. Along with payments, Fitpay also has support for transit authorisation and keyless entry. Recognised as a startup of the year by Paybefore, a B2B industry publication for the payments and retail industry, Fitpay will ensure smooth contactless payments for Garmin across the world.
Garmin Pay and the vívoactive 3 are connected to the FitPay Trusted Payment Manager platform, which is integrated with Mastercard through the Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) and with Visa through the Visa Ready for Tokenization program.
While Garmin has not provided a confirmation about which other products will be supporting the Garmin Pay feature, they have mentioned, with respect to new technology, “when appropriate, we introduce it to other products.” So, you might want to hold on to your next Garmin purchase for a little longer now.
The Garmin vivoactive 3 includes GPS, a heart rate monitor, and battery life of 7 days in smartwatch mode, and 13 hours if you’re using constant GPS tracking. It comes in three different colors, and supports both built-in sports apps for up to 15 different activities, as well as additional user-customizable activity apps. The vivoactive can keep track of stress levels over time thanks to heart rate variability monitoring, and additional watch faces, apps and more are available in the Garmin Connect IQ store, which is accessible via the companion smartphone app.