Fit for Payment


Fitness is booming. My gut instinct has been confirmed by a study [1] that I came across by chance. I found it interesting that people seem increasingly less likely to simply go and do sports, instead they always have to have a smartphone or fitness wristband with them, recording the number of calories burned or the distance covered. The company Jawbone has now announced the arrival of UP4, a fitness wristband that allows you to make payments [2], making Jawbone the first provider of fitness wristbands to enter the payment market.

What I like about it is that the technology isn’t rocket science and offers real added value. There is an NFC chip on the fitness wristband and a credit card can be linked to the wristband through an app, although UP4 only works with American Express cards at the moment. All you have to do to pay is hold the wristband up to the till. Convenient if you want to buy a bottle of water quickly during a break or a well-earned power shake after your session.

The world of payments is changing, at PPRO we see this every day. The issue here is not whether one payment system supersedes another or whether it is better to pay with a smartwatch, a fitness wristband, a smartphone or traditionally by card. Users don’t have to make any either/or decisions, they simply choose the payment method that suits them. For sport that might be the fitness wristband because they want to take as little as possible with them. If they have their smartphone with them anyway, this can be used as a wallet. One advantage of paying with the fitness wristband is that people are likely to wear the wristbands all day anyway, so they have this ‘wallet’ with them all of the time and are able to pay not only when doing sport.