Would you use your Fitbit as a debit card?
With the news that Fitbit is acquiring Coin, could it be bringing NFC payments to its fitness trackers in future? We investigate…
Fitbit buys Coin – what does it have in store for you?
How often do you find yourself routing around your wallet for your different debit, credit and payment cards at the checkout? Now imagine if you could store them all on a single device.
That’s exactly what Coin has in mind with its smart credit card that can hold all your payment information digitally – replacing the need for your wallet altogether. It uses NFC, the same technology behind contactless card payments, to allow you to pay for the things you buy just by using your phone or smartwatch.
Now Fitbit wants to get in on the action and has acquired the company. Why? According to CEO James Park, it’s all part of Fitbit’s vision to not only help you towards your health and fitness goals – but also make your life easier by adding more smart features to its products
At the moment Fitbit says it has ‘no plans’ to include this technology in its 2016 trackers – so watch this space for new NFC-enabled models arriving from 2017 onwards.
But wait – don’t Apple Watch and Android Wear devices already offer this?
Yes. The difference is that a Fitbit is a fitness tracker, rather than a smartwatch. It’s designed to help keep you in shape by motivating you with fitness goals and monitoring your progress – and doesn’t offer any smart features.
Recently though, the line between fitness trackers and smartwatches seems to be blurring. Jawbone’s Up4 band for instance can be used with American Express cards, while at CES this year we saw the launch of Fitbit Blaze – the ‘smartest’ fitness tracker to date.
What can you do with a smarter fitness tracker?
With an NFC-enabled fitness band, you’ll be able to make payments with just a quick swipe of your wrist. It’ll make tapping in on the tube or bus and grabbing your morning coffee a lot more convenient. Want to turn your device into a digital wallet? Find out more.
As well as this, there are plenty of other smart features that’ll let you do a lot more with your fitness tracker than just use it for exercise, allowing you to:
- See call, text and message alerts – so you can leave your phone in your bag
- Use it with different apps to get all your notifications in one place
- Control the music on your smartphone – great if you’re out for a run or bike ride and want to quickly change a track
- Stay on top of your schedule by syncing it with your calendar – whether that’s for work or simply sticking to your fitness regime
So would you use a Fitbit that doubles up as a smartwatch, or should a fitness tracker stay just that?