Garmin is the latest tech giant to embrace mobile payments as the GPS navigation and wearables company today announces the launch of Garmin Pay.
The new contactless payments service arrives first on the company’s new $300 Vívoactive 3 smartwatch. Powered by FitPay, a white-label contactless payments platform aimed at the burgeoning wearables and IoT realms, Garmin Pay supports both Mastercard and Visa cards from “major issuing banks,” which you manually add to the Garmin Pay wallet to let you pay for goods in stores by scanning your wrist at the checkout.
With both GPS and contactless payments built in, the problem Garmin is looking to solve is one that will be familiar to millions of fitness enthusiasts around the world. Why carry your phone and wallet with you on a long run, when you can pack your every need into a wrist-worn contraption?
“Anyone who is out and about being active can relate to the struggle of where to stash a credit card or cash, and has had to forgo a post-workout snack or coffee as a result,” explained Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales, Dan Bartel, in a press release. “We’re solving that dilemma with Garmin Pay, an exciting feature on the new Vívoactive 3. Use it pretty much wherever contactless payments are accepted, and give yourself one less thing to remember when you’re leaving the house.”
One point worth noting here is that the Vívoactive 3 doesn’t have music capabilities built in, meaning that if you do like to listen to tunes while pounding the pavements, you will still have to carry a secondary device with you. With that in mind, Garmin’s latest watch is capable of controlling music on your smartphone, but it is a shame you’re not able to pack some tracks onto the watch itself.
Today’s news comes just a few days after Fitbit announced its first ever smartwatch, the $300 Ionic, which promises water resistance, GPS, heart rate monitoring… and a brand new contactless payments service called Fitbit Pay. To say that the mobile payments space is heating up is something of an understatement, with Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Apple Pay already vying for consumers’ attentions.
The wearables market grew 18 percent in Q1 2017, according to a recent IDC report, with Xiaomi and Apple nudging Fitbit into third place in terms of market share. Garmin remains one of the top five wearables companies in the world too, however, sitting behind the three aforementioned companies and Samsung.
The Vívoactive 3 is available in three colors – black/stainless and white/stainless, which cost $299.99; and black/slate, which has a suggested retail price of $329.99. Garmin also today announced the Vívomove HR, which it calls its first touchscreen hybrid smartwatch.