Wearables

EZ-Link And Singaporean Transit To Embed Payments In Wearable Fitness Devices

EZ-Link, the payment card issuer, and Singaporean transit have teamed up to embed payment functionality into fitness and health trackers from the likes of Watchdata and Garmin.

According to a report, the wearable devices from both companies have been configured to carry the EZ-Link Cepas purse so that consumers can make contactless payments on public transit at greater than 30,000 EZ-Link acceptance points around the island. Watchdata’s Batman v Superman fitness tracker, which was co-developed with EZ-Link, costs S$42.50, while Garmin’s vívosmart costs S$259.

“This collaboration with EZ-Link puts Singapore on the road map as the first country in Southeast Asia to offer a contactless payment solution where you can pay for public transport rides with a tap of your wearable on your wrist. Integrating the latest smarts, such as innovative payment solutions, into our wearable devices is one of the key pillars of our ongoing efforts to help consumers experience new ways of convenience in their daily life,” said Al Sundoro, general manager of Garmin South Asia.

The report noted that, last year, Garmin integrated a similar contactless payment chip into the vívosmart HR band in Taiwan. With it, users pay for train rides, bus trips and retail purchases via the I-Pass electronic wallet stored within the chip.

While companies are moving forward with adding more features into wearable fitness devices, it comes at a time when the market is slowing. Market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) recently reported that the wearables market isn’t doing as well as most people think with the proliferation of options. Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook saying otherwise, the launch of the Apple Watch Series 2 this fall hasn’t gained traction, as Apple’s sales declined 71 percent compared to last year’s third quarter.

Analysts say the wearable category is failing to grow at the rates that were anticipated. Turns out, eMarketer researchers estimate, that 39.5 million U.S. adults will sport a wearable at least once per month. This is significantly less than the 63.7 million they predicted last fall. Wearable devices will only touch 15.8 percent of the U.S. population, growing only 21.1 percent by 2020. Smartwatch options in particular were expected to grow more than 60 percent annually this past year, but analysts now say annual growth is looking more like 25 percent.

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