Wearables aren’t just for showing smartphone notifications and tracking your fitness (or lack of it): a growing number of them are adding contactless payments to the mix.
With Android Pay set to arrive on Android Wear very soon, NFC wearable payments on the way to Fitbit and Mastercard bringing payment tech to trackers, mobile payments are really ramping up on wearables.
According to Juniper Research, mobile and wearable payments will hit $100 billion by 2018.
The technology is tested and easy to implement, and that means we’re seeing it appear in all sorts of places. While there are plenty more companies expected to jump aboard, here are the ones that work right now.
Samsung Gear S3
Samsung knows that to get its Samsung Pay service off the ground it needs a wearable to go with it – and the Gear S3 may be the best one yet. Samsung’s latest smartwatch isn’t just upping the game on looks, but it’s bettering the S2 by bringing Samsung Pay to all wearers who own an Android phone. This means you don’t have to have a Samsung smartphone to use the payment system, which will help it gain more traction – especially with Android Pay still waiting to hit Wear.
$350, samsung.com | Amazon
If you’re in the US then you can pick up Jawbone’s UP4 fitness tracker, which, as well as recording your activity 24/7 like the UP3, will also let you pick up some groceries. You get everything that the UP3 has including the heart rate monitor, but with the addition of American Express payments at participating retailers. Your Amex card is authenticated through the Jawbone app, and you can then swipe your wrist to pay — with or without your phone.
$68.99, jawbone.com | Amazon
Yes, the Apple Watch will let you pay for stuff. Thanks to Apple Pay, which works in the UK and the US, it’s a portable payment device as well as a smart timepiece. Your iPhone handles the job of adding debit and credit cards, as well as verifying your identity, and you can then pay using the Apple Watch with a flick of your wrist.
$369 and above, apple.com
Microsoft Band 2
Like the UP4, the second generation offers mobile payments, but you’ll need to be in the US and you can only buy something in Starbucks – you’ll also need to already own a Band 2 or get one before they sell out. To get it set up on the feature packed fitness tracker/smartwatch hybrid, you’ll need to add the Starbucks tile to your Microsoft Band 2 via the Microsoft Health app.
When you’re ready to pay, turn the screen on, select the Starbucks tile and a barcode will pop up. Hold it in front of the cashier’s scanner and you’ve paid for your coffee.
$249.99, microsoft.com | Amazon
Lyle & Scott bPay jacket
Wearing something around your wrist not really your style? Thanks to Lyle & Scott and Barclays you can have some NFC payment goodness built right into your jacket. The payment bit is hidden in the cuff of your sleeve, and with bPay inside it means you can use your credit or debit card (from Barclays or any other bank) to complete transactions in hundreds of thousands of places in the UK. You’ll just have to hope it’s not a sunny day.
Topshop x bPay band
Don’t worry, you don’t have to fork out for a Lyle & Scott jacket if you want to be able to take advantage of Barclays bPay technology (remember you can register a card from any bank, even though Barclays develops the app). There’s also a band that you can pick up very cheaply to use at some 300,000 retailers in the UK that now has an increased £30 limit, although it doesn’t do anything else except handle mobile payments, so you might have to wear a smartwatch alongside it.
£19, bpay.co.uk | Amazon