Fitbit just bought wearable payments technology from financial tech startup Coin. Why does that matter? Because Fitbit still sells more wearables than any other company – including Apple – and by the looks of early Alta and Blaze sales, will continue to do so into 2017. So using wearables to pay for stuff could take off in a big way.
The deal involves engineering and sales personnel and technology IP from Coin but Fitbit won’t actually be using Coin’s mobile wallet.
Before you get ready to buy the next NFC chip rocking Fitbit, we’ve already got news that we won’t be seeing Fitbit trackers or smartwatches with the tech in 2016. Ever the optimists, we’d bet that we’ll see the first devices come through at CES 2017, a year after Fitbit’s latest device announcements.
Essentially no matter what a wearable does, NFC payments are a great addition – it’s one more reason to wear it in the morning, it doesn’t drain battery and contactless payments mean the list of places you can use the tech is growing and growing.
Fitbit CEO James Park told Fortune that one use case would be buying a bottle of water at the end of a run, showing that fitness is still the focus.
Apple already has Apple Pay on the Watch, Android Pay just launched in the UK and we’re expecting to see the feature crop up on some – if not all – Android Wear watches and in the US, both Jawbone and Microsoft offer some payments capabilities on fitness bands. We’ll let you know more details on the Fitbit and Coin deal when we have them.