Fitbit Pay Makes Its Appearance Through Fitbit Ionic
It’s been talked about before, but Fitbit has finally made the jump from fitness tracker to more complete mobile operating system. The release of the Fitbit Ionic will bring Fitbit out of the one-trick-pony range by adding Fitbit Pay, a mobile payments system that allows users to make payments anywhere with a little smartphone support.
Fitbit Pay is set to work with all current contactless payment systems, which means it will work just about anywhere that Apple Watch or Android Wear devices could go. You’ll need the Fitbit Ionic to make it work—it’s the only device in Fitbit’s stable that will handle such a system—but reports suggest that it may be branching out to others later like the Blaze 2 and the Charge 3.
Users will be limited, however, in the amount it can handle per transaction. Many are already familiar with UK regulations that stop payments at 30 pounds sterling—$38.81 as of this writing—and most US banks likewise have regulations that cut things off at about $50.
Reports suggest several banks have made the jump to supporting Fitbit Pay, but local results will vary. You may want to get in touch with your own bank before you go grab a Fitbit Ionic and wind up embarrassed on your first juice break on a run. However, there’s some good news here as the Fitbit Ionic won’t hit stores until October, which gives Fitbit a little more time to shore up bank support.
It’s not likely to be a crashing success; customers have already pretty much set up their mobile payment system of choice by now and have been using it in some cases for years. Fitbit’s walking into the party so late that half the hors d’oeuvres are gone and some guests are actually thinking about leaving. It’s not that Fitbit’s betting the company on Fitbit Pay; it’s just looking to augment its fortunes by being a niche player, at least by the look of things.
If that’s all Fitbit wants, it might well get a few users for the convenience angle. It’s not likely to break many users out of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and the like, though, so this will likely be a limited success at best.