Wearable payments will remain a niche trend for quite some time to come. Neither consumers nor retailers have much interest in exploring this option. Wells Fargo has decided to give this concept a nudge in the right direction. More specifically, the institution will partner with Fitbit to support wearable payments. In the near future, bank customers will be able to use Fitbit Pay as a supported NFC payment terminal. An interesting move, but one that may be pointless in the long run.
It is always interesting to see banks focus on new payment methods. Payment cards and mobile solutions are more popular than ever before. However, there is always a need for new tools and additional support. Partnering with Fitbit is not necessarily something most people expected Wells Fargo to do. Wearable payments simply aren’t all that appealing, even though it is convenient. NFC payments can be completed without a wearable device as well, thus it is far less appealing to get a Fitbit Ionic smartwatch.
An Interesting Partnership for Wells Fargo
At the same time, the number of purchased wearables is going up slightly. Especially when it comes to smartwatches, there appears to be a genuine interest as of late. Counting steps and calories is something a lot of US consumers partake in. If that same device also gives them a new payment method to play around with, all the better. Whether or not Wells Fargo users will show a keen interest in this concept, remains to be determined.
Wells Fargo head of Virtual Channels Jim Smith comments:
“Increasingly, our customers are choosing mobile to manage their finances and make payments. In fact, in May 2017, Wells Fargo had more active mobile customers than online ones for the first time ever. As customer behavior and preferences continue to shift, we’re pleased to provide more options to conveniently make payments from mobile devices and wearables like Fitbit Ionic.”
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for wearable payments. Having Wells Fargo on board is a major step in the right direction. There is a big difference between mobile and wearable payments, though. Everyone owns and uses a mobile device on a daily basis. Wearables, on the other hand, are gadgets people often forget about. Although Fitbit makes great products it is doubtful a lot of people view them as payment tools right now.
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock