Garmin Joins Wearable Payments Rush With New Devices

September 5, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

First Fitbit, now this. Recent reports noted that Garmin is bringing three new devices to the IFA 2017 show, including the vivoactive 3, a device that boasts a little extra mobile payment edge to it. It comes loaded with Garmin Pay, the current reports note, which brings Garmin into much the same market space as Fitbit.

The vivoactive 3 not only includes Garmin Pay, but also comes with GPS tracking and a heart rate monitor to let you know where you are and how hard you worked to get there. The device has a seven-day battery life for those in smartwatch mode, but for those using constant GPS tracking, that battery life falls to just 13 hours. Still, pretty good all told, and it gets better.

There’s a stress level tracking system, heart rate variability monitoring, and, since a smartwatch is a fashion accessory as much as it is a tool, it also comes with different watch faces so you can change your device’s color scheme to meet the needs of the day. Throw in a set of apps and other tools and it’s a surprisingly richly-featured device.

Garmin Pay, though, is in response to the customer outcry the company had been getting for some time, reports note. It’s set to support both credit and debit cards in Visa and Mastercard flavors alike, and those issued by “major banks” to start with. More support is likely to be forthcoming down the line. Interestingly, reports note that Garmin Pay actually owes at least a little something to FitPay, as Garmin Pay is running on top of FitPay’s platform.

It would be easy to say that this is a doomed platform, except for one thing: it’s not really doomed, because it really doesn’t need to succeed. If only one Garmin user actually uses Garmin Pay, then Garmin hasn’t sold one unit fewer and has processed the payments for that one user. That’s a little extra cash in pocket and a user that’s that much more satisfied and more likely to stick with Garmin.

Garmin Pay will almost certainly never be a match for Apple Pay, but it doesn’t really need to be. It’s a little extra business for Garmin and a little extra value for its users.