NFC TIMES Exclusive – The rollout of payments wearables is hitting a snag, with commercial and technical challenges holding back plans by industry players to enable consumers to buy wristbands, analog watches, rings and other wearables and then load them with their favorite debit and credit cards. (See table, challenge sections, below.)
While Fitbit, the largest maker of fitness bands, appears likely to go forward with its delayed plans for a rollout of payments wearables sometime this year, its poor financial results and reorganization could cause more delays. And Google’s two planned smartwatches supporting HCE-enabled Android Pay, expected this quarter, will likely not result in large volumes. Progress is slow for most other payments wearables projects.
Backers have found it more difficult than initially thought to provision the wearables with payments credentials, including tokens, and ensure that the devices can be used for making payments at contactless point-of-sale terminals in the same way that contactless bank cards and payment applications on NFC phones do.