Innovation

Visa, Mastercard Enable Corporate Cards With Smartwatches

Top credit card companies are taking an early opportunity to ensure their corporate cards work with new smartwatches.

Reports in Business Travel News said Friday (Aug. 31) that American Express, Mastercard and Visa have all enabled their commercial cards to work with Fitbit Ionic, a smartwatch launching in October, and Mastercard and Visa have enabled theirs for the Vioactive 3 smartwatch.

The move is a sign of support for contactless and mobile payments for corporate use; with the Fitbit and Vioactive watches, users can integrate their commercial cards for use within apps on the smartwatches. Other smartwatches can enable use of tap-and-pay functionality as well.

But while card companies have to be on board with linking these tools to commercial cards, the banks do too. According to BTN, Fitbit already has Barclays and Bank of America as partners. They are part of a growing list of collaborators, which include Time Warner, Target and IBM, helping the company to promote adoption of smartwatches, which has been tempered, especially among corporate travelers.

Last year, data from the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker found a 52 percent decline in Q3 2016 in the smartwatch market overall.

Business travelers have been slow to adopt use of mobile wallets altogether, too, despite the card companies eventually supporting the use of these mobile wallets with their commercial cards in 2015.

According to data from the NAPCP and TSYS released late last year, mobile payments continue to see sluggish uptick among business users. Supplier resistance, their report said, is a key hurdle to adoption, as well as ongoing habits among employees to use personal cards and get reimbursed for their purchases later.

Only 10 percent of professionals in their survey said they were either “likely” or “very likely” to use mobile payment technology for a B2B transaction.

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