Startup Check-In

Discover Phase: FitPay Adds Major Payment Network To Platform

FitPay, the startup technology platform that adds contactless payment capabilities to wearable and IoT devices, has announced a partnership with Discover.

Co-founders Michael Orlando and Chris Orlando told PYMNTS that adding this third major payment network to the FitPay platform will allow device partners and end users to add digitized Discover cards to their accounts, as well as supporting tokenization practices for Discover as the startup has done with its other partner networks.

Garmin, whose Dual Active 3 and Forerunner 645 smartwatches feature FitPay’s contactless payment technology, will be the first partner to launch the new Discover capability.

Speaking of Garmin, Michael said that things are picking up on that front. The Forerunner 645 – a “pure running watch,” he said, which can store music so that runners need only bring their watch and a pair of Bluetooth headphones – began shipping a couple of weeks ago.

Payment capabilities were activated on March 19, so activity is just starting to show up on the FitPay platform from that device. Michael said there has been consistent activity around new devices adding cards to the Garmin Pay platform. Sales seem to be getting traction, he said, and the new device delivered a lift in activity for FitPay.

“Folks buying Garmin devices are purists in terms of the way they think about lifestyle activity,” Michael said. “Payments on their watch is something they’ve embraced.”

Chris said this bodes well for contactless payments and wearables as a whole.

“The momentum is building,” he said. “We’re excited about the progress – with the company and platform, but also with the industry in general. We’re seeing more ubiquity and acceptance. That plays well for the space.”

In other news, FitPay continues to work toward its goal of expanding the platform to include bitcoin exchange and conversion. Its IoT device, Flip, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, is in the presale phase, with the public launch scheduled for sometime in Q2.

Chris said that presales for the $29 device had so far met expectations, despite marketing challenges as Facebook and Google crack down on crypto-related advertising. He said that the crypto space is at a disruption point as regulatory entities take a closer look at cryptocurrencies and the initial coin offerings (ICOs) that fund them.

“The marketplace is uncertain, and will be until that settles,” he predicted.

Finally, FitPay has added more issuing banks to its platform, for a grand total of 65 to 70 bank partners in 14 countries.

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