Mobile Payments

Mastercard Partners With Fitbit To Bring Contactless Payments To Its New Smartwatch

Though still perhaps an overlooked part of the market, wearables and the people who own them are emerging as an important piece of the digital commerce landscape currently under construction.

Consumers who own wearables own more devices than those who don’t, shop online more often, spend more when they shop, are more likely to use a voice-activated personal assistant like Alexa, are more likely to never use cash and are more likely to use digital channels for a wider array of goods.

And with the launch of the Ionic — Fitbit’s first smartwatch — Mastercard is making sure it’s ready on the ground floor to meet those wearable consumers — and offer them secure access to tokenized payments. The firm announced Monday (Aug. 28) that it has inked a deal with Fitbit to bring contactless payments to the Ionic, which was also launched Monday.

Using the Fitbit Ionic, consumers will be able to add their eligible cards to the NFC (near-field communication) enabled smartwatch and pay by tapping their device at contactless payment terminals at more than 6.6 million merchants around the globe.

“For years we have seen contactless payment surge in some markets more than others. The use case is not new, but now more than ever, we have the technology that allows us to provision the credentials that are in your physical wallet with the strongest level of security.” Kiki Del Valle, senior vice president of Commerce for Every Device, Mastercard told PYMNTS in a conversation shortly after the news broke. “Consumers are looking to new alternatives – and this presents a new way for us to drive innovation”

The Ionic officially goes on sale in October, but consumers can pre-order the NFC wearable as of today on Fitbit.com. The mobile payment functionality will be initially supported in the United States with participating issuer banks and will expand to other markets across the globe soon after, Mastercard said.

“We’re focused on delivering the features that add that right level of utility to our users, so they can focus on reaching their health and fitness goals. Fitbit Pay lets you make payments on the go directly from your wrist with Fitbit Ionic, adding convenience to your life and the ability to leave your smartphone and wallet at home,” said Jon Oakes, vice president, Product Management, Fitbit, noted in a release.

By adding mobile payments capability to Fitbit Ionic, Mastercard said it is ensuring that everyone, everywhere has the ability to make and receive secure payments using any connected device across a number of different verticals, such as wearables, connected cars, smart home and retail.

“Consumers don’t want to to grab their wallets all the time — when they are on the go they just don’t want to stop. It is all about the technology, infrastructure and convenience all working together for the consumer,” Del Valle noted.

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