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Fitbit Ionic Enables NFC Cashless Payments; Survey Says Consumers Want To Pay With Wearables

Posted On: 8/29/2017

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Fitbit IonicSAN FRANCISCO -- Fitbit has introduced its first smartwatch model featuring the new Fitbit Pay function. To pay with the wearable Fitbit Ionic device, users load an eligible Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card on the Fitbit companion app and hold the smartwatch near an NFC-enabled terminal.

Fitbit won't support every card issuer at launch, but the company has formed partnerships with Bank of America, Mastercard and Visa, and plans add more banks to support more cards. Last year, Fitbit acquired payment startup Coin as part of the payments strategy, and to compete with the Apple Watch.

"Whether grabbing a smoothie post-run or paying for a coffee while counting steps on a city tour, we are delighted to give users the option to leave their wallet at home and simply pay with their device," said Fitbit vice-president of product management Jon Oakes.

Besides the new payment function, the Ionic offers all the basics consumers expect from a fitness device: sleep and activity tracking, heart rate monitor, GPS integration smart notifications along with new features like a sensor that measures oxygen in the blood and personalized workouts that adapt to the user's feedback.

PYMTS, an online news site covering e-commerce and online payment methods, recently conducted a survey for Visa titled "How We Will Pay" that suggests the majority of consumers want their wearables to allow them to make everyday purchases.

The study suggested that wearables owners buy more things than the average consumer in all product categories, ranging from apparel and food to personal care products.

More than 60% of all respondents -- wearable owners and nonwearable owners -- preferred cards and digital payments to cash. Additionally, more than 85% reported that wearables help save time and improve efficiency. However, more than 70% of wearable-owning respondents reported that they worry about data privacy and theft.

PYMTS conducted the survey among a panel of approximately 2,600 adult users ages 18 and older within the United States from April 2017 to May 2017.