Jawbone, the company that arguably kick started the wearables revolution, has announced that the latest edition of its flagship smart wristband will have NFC payments capability available to all users who are also American Express cardholders. Fortune magazine reports:
“It also announced another new wristband, the UP4, which will ship “this summer,” and incorporate an NFC chip for making contactless payments with American Express. Hold your wrist up to a contactless payment terminal and it’ll be the same as paying with an Amex credit card.
Jawbone is charting new territory here since this will be the first time consumers can use a fitness tracker for NFC payments, following Apple’s inclusion of a tap-to-pay feature in the forthcoming Apple Watch.
The $199 UP4 will include the same fitness-tracking functionality of the UP3 including steps-tracking, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking, along with the NFC chip for payments.”
From information that has been released about the new product, it seems that once an Amex cardholders activates the payments feature on their Jawbone wristband using the Amex app on their smartphone, the device can function independently of the phone—just like a contactless card. This is a very nifty move that mimics the functionality of the Apple Watch. Runners, for instance, can now leave their bulky phones and wallets behind, while still being able to pay for a smoothie on the way back at a store that accepts NFC. I fully expect more wearable devices to acquire NFC capability—a development that will surely push more merchants to support the technology when they upgrade their POS terminals, an argument I make in my upcoming research note ‘Apple Pay at 5 Months: Why Adoption at POS is Only Half the Story’.
Overview by Nikhil Joesph, Analyst, Emerging Technologies Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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