Fitbit makes fitness trackers, and now, a full-fledged smartwatch that you can make payments with, thanks to a service called Fitbit Pay.
Originally launched on the Fitbit Ionic - which you can read all about in our full review - and now on the Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Pay brings mobile payments to your wrist. While you're out for a run, you can hop into a corner store to buy water, without needing your wallet or phone.
Here's everything you need to know about Fitbit Pay.
What is Fitbit Pay?
Ever hear of Apple Pay or Google Pay? (If not, go here and here, respectively.) Anyway, Fitbit Pay is basically the same thing; it launched on the Fitbit Ionic and is also available on the new Fitbit Versa.
Fitbit Pay, in a nut shell, is a mobile payment system that works with all contactless payment readers. A built-in NFC chip in the smartwatch allows you to make payments on the go, right from your wrist, so you can pay for a water, mid run.
Here's what Fitbit said about Ionic's NFC chip:
"Leave your wallet and phone at home and effortlessly pay for items right from your device, wherever contactless payments are accepted... The built-in NFC chip opens the opportunity to develop apps that provide keyless and cardless access to buildings, hotels, sporting venues, and transportation in the future."
What banks support Fitbit Pay?
The following banks are listed as supporting Fitbit Pay, meaning you'll be able to use these cards to make mobile payments via your watch.
Here's the full list of compatibility for the US:
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Boeing Employees Credit Union - Debit
- Capital One - Credit
- CedarStone Bank
- Citizens Equity First Credit Union (Mastercard)
- Commerce Bank
- Fisher National Bank (Mastercard)
- First National Bank of Spearman (Mastercard)
- First Tech Federal Credit Union (Mastercard)
- Peoples National Bank of Kewanee (Mastercard)
- Security Service Federal Credit Union
- Sun Community Federal Credit Union (Mastercard)
- The Colorado Bank & Trust Company of La Junta (Mastercard)
- Triad Bank (Mastercard)
- U.S. Bank
- Wells Fargo
- VACU (Mastercard)
Here's the full list of compatibility for the UK:
- Danske Bank (Mastercard)
- Starling Bank (Mastercard)
The list of supported countries is as follows:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United State of America
You can find a full list of the supported banks on Fitbit's site right here.
How does Fitbit Pay work?
All you have to do is add your card, then go to a store, long press the left-hand button and hold your Ionic watch next to contactless reader at checkout. It's that simple.
Add your credit or debit card
You will be able to add eligible US American Express cards, as well as Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards from "top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe", which we've detailed above.
Now, here's the thing: although cards from American Express, Mastercard, and Visa are all compatible, you won't be able to use them unless your bank is supported. If they aren't, you won't be able to connect your card. Both Apple Pay and Android Pay have taken quite a while to get banks onboard with their respective mobile payment technologies, so it may take a while for your bank to be supported.
If your bank is supported, then you add the details in the Fitbit app on your phone. These details are verified before being synced to your Ionic or Versa watch. You'll have to have the watch connected via Bluetooth to complete the process. It is simple, however, and doesn't take long to do.
Go to a store
Fitbit Pay works anywhere that accepts contactless payments, which includes over a million stores. Just look for the contactless payments symbol near card readers during checkout.
Now, although stores haven't announced that they will accept Fitbit Pay payments, the following US and UK stores accept contactless payments and work with Apple Pay as well as Android Pay:
- Starbucks, Babies-R-Us, Bloomingdales, Disney, Duane Reade, Macy's, McDonalds, Nike, Petco, Staples, Subway, Toys-R-Us, Unleashed, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Boots, Bill's, Dune, Waitrose, M&S, Wagamama, Nando's, Liberty, and Lidl
For those in the UK, using Fitbit Pay is as simple as tapping your contactless card on the reader. If you see the symbol, you then just have to activate payment on the watch and then pay by placing your watch next to the reader.
When the payment goes through you'll get a tick on the watch display, as well as getting a notification from he Fitbit app to tell you what you've paid for. Because you have to deliberately activate the payment on the watch each time you pay, there's no risk of skimming from your watch without you knowing.
Which Fitbit devices work with Fitbit Pay?
Fitbit Pay works with Fitbit Ionic and the Fitbit Versa.
Anything else you should know?
You won't need any other authentication, such as a fingerprint scan, but you might not be able to do large payments. In the UK, contactless payment transactions are often limited to £30, while some banks in the US limit it to $50.