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Much of the growth in wearable technology is happening without an eye to enabling payments. This is prompting many companies to find a way to add payment capabilities to wearables without forcing users to buy an entirely new device.
The Pebble smartwatch has always been a favorite among developers and tinkerers, and Fit Pay is joining the fun with the Pagaré band, which embeds Near Field Communication-based payment capabilities into the watch's strap.
Microsoft Band's New Uses
Microsoft's Band shipped with a Starbucks card app, but until recently that seemed to be the limit of its payment capabilities. Fujitsu has bigger plans for the device, such as connecting it to the point of sale to alert managers when the cash register runs low.
Coin and MasterCard
The Coin card may not be an easy sell as more consumers move away from plastic cards, so the company is working with MasterCard to jump ahead of the trend. Through this partnership, Coin's underlying technology is being offered as the foundation for new wearable payment devices.
Kerv's NFC payment ring is quickly moving from concept to reality. After completing its Kickstarter funding in October, Kerv in February began surveying its backers for their ring sizes and design preferences in anticipation of an April product launch.
Developers are increasingly concerned about the security of wearable technology. Companies like Freescale are looking to add PIN authentication and tamper detection to the terminals that accept payments from consumer devices with low computing power.
Consumer choice is at the heart of the Blocks concept, a modular smartwatch that lets owners decide whether they want NFC capabilities. If they choose not to, they can swap out that "block" for another feature.
In a Heartbeat
The popularity of fitness tracking is not lost on the fintech crowd. Fit Pay was awarded the top prize in last year's Comerica RocketSpace Wearable FinTech Startup Challenge for a system that uses electrocardiography to detect heart activity for user authentication.