New Garmin Fitness-Tracking Smartwatch Supports NFC Payments

A new fitness-tracking smartwatch from Garmin features contactless payment technology care of Visa.

Called the Vivoactive 3, the device features an NFC payments platform called Garmin Pay, which leverages tokenization services from Visa and Fit Pay to help secure transactions. The companies say that Visa cardholders will be able to upload their payment information to the device when Garmin Pay goes live, allowing them to make purchases on the run, without any need to bring their wallets.

In a statement announcing the collaboration, Visa highlighted findings from its “Visa Sweaty Money Survey”, which polled 1,000 American adults in August of this year. Fifty-seven percent said they have ended up keeping payment options in uncomfortable or unconventional places while working out, and 57 percent of those who don’t carry payment methods during exercise said it’s because they don’t have anywhere to put it or they’re worried about losing it. Accordingly, 60 percent of respondents expressed interest in using a wearable to make purchases while exercising.

With its Garmin Pay system, the Vivoactive 3 thus seems to offer a solution. It may also help signal a growing trend, with Fitbit also preparing to launch a fitness-tracking smartwatch featuring contactless payment capabilities supported by both Visa and Mastercard. If these devices prove successful among consumers, wearable payments could really start to pick up speed beyond the upcoming holiday season.