Earlier this year Garmin announced it was working on Garmin Pay, a contactless payment solution that lets its users make secure payments directly through the watch, no phone or wallet required, has gone live. Albeit with a lot more work to get it to the levels of Apple pay.
Tech companies have been trying a lot of different things to make wearables stick, not the least of which is payments. The bad news is, it’s only available for those using Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 smartwatch. It probably will be rolled out into Garmin’s newer line up in the future, but for right now it’s only on the one device. The Vivoactive 3 has an NFC chip inside that allows you to make the payments, much like you can with Android Pay or Apple Pay. Most of Garmin’s previous devices do not have NFC, so older models won’t get the feature.
The Vivoactive 3 is Garmin’s foray into the smartwatch segment much like the Fitbit Ionic. Garmin is known for their multisport watches but not smartwatches. The company is the best around for GPS enabled devices, and their sports watches are top tier. We’ll just have to wait and see how they fair in the Smartwatch market which is already saturated. Garmin still has to work on getting more banks on their platform. Previously Garmin did do a tie-up with EZ-link. But that didn’t see much traction.
Garmin Pay, enabled by FitPay which is a white-label contactless payments platform aimed at the burgeoning wearables and internet of things markets, allows Vívoactive 3 owners to manually add their Mastercard or Visa card to the Garmin Pay wallet and then pay for goods by just scanning their watch at the point of sale.
Garmin is also adding more credit and debit cards from major banks and hopefully will reach our shores shortly. Payment support always felt like a good fit for Garmin’s wearables. Garmin knows that they have to add features like this to stay relevant in today’s market or go the way of Blackberry.
Here’s to hoping they’ll stick in LTE next. Perhaps in the form of the next Fenix. Now that will get Garmin fans pumped.