Contactless cash: Start paying with your watch instead of your wallet


  • Smartwatch
  • Saturday, 01 Feb 2020

When making a purchase in a shop it's as simple as holding the watch up to the payment terminal and the payment is made. — dpa

With the right watch on your wrist, you can always be solvent when you're out and about – and you don't even need to have a particularly expensive watch for this to work.

Instead, you just need one with an NFC chip for contactless payments, as well as a bank or credit card that supports it.

Popular choices here are smartwatches from manufacturers like Fossil, LG and Mobvoi, which run Google's Wear OS and have Google Pay onboard, as well as Apple Watches with Apple Pay that enable contactless payment.

But there are plenty more watches and fitness wristbands from manufacturers such as Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung that facilitate this payment method.

The watch doesn't even have to be a smartwatch for this to work – it just needs an NFC chip. Swatch, for example, offers such models.

When making a purchase in a shop it's as simple as holding the watch up to the payment terminal and the payment is made. You'll need to have the necessary app, such as Google Pay or Apple Pay, installed on your smartphone and to have the phone linked to the watch.

This app can come from the watch manufacturer or from a payment service provider. Your credit card data is stored by the app and it also allows you to track purchases in real time.

Direct and constant communication between the watch and the smartphone is not always necessary – in many cases NFC payment works even when the watch's battery is empty.

That's because the payment app can communicate via the Internet with the payment service provider to learn what you've bought.

Before investing in a watch, however, you'll want to check that your credit card provider or bank supports mobile payments with services like Google Pay or Apple Pay. While PayPal payment is possible with Google Pay, it's not yet available on smartwatches. – dpa

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