Mobile wallets have been slow to gain traction in this country, though we consumers have a number of options available to us. There’s Apple Pay, Chase Pay, and Google Pay, among others, but one more player has just made its way to the table: Garmin Pay.
If you’re anything like me, a quizzical expression just came across your face. “Garmin, as in the GPS device people?” Yes, that same company has just teamed up with credit card issuer Discover to create Garmin Pay, a watch-based mobile pay system designed to make on-the-go purchases easy and convenient for customers.
Over the years, Garmin has become a trusted name in GPS-based products. Their current line includes a variety of activity and lifestyle smartwatches, especially those aimed at serious runners and triathletes.
Big name smartwatches (like those from Apple) are ideal for everyday wear, providing both style and function whether you’re at home, the office, or at the gym. However, these chic accessories aren’t usually suitable for endurance tahletes who may be training for hours each day, pushing their bodies (and electronics) to the limits. Garmin’s products are built to not only assist with that training but also withstand that level of daily abuse… and now, they’ll also have the convenient functionality that their customers need.
With Garmin Pay, wearers of products like the Forerunner, Vivoactive, Fenix, and Delta series watches can access their Discover cards to make purchases on the go, anytime they need. Customers can pay at any merchant who accepts both Discover credit cards and Near Field Communication (NFC) transactions, with nothing more than a tap.
This opens up the mobile wallet space for an entirely different breed of customer, such as the endurance athletes mentioned above. Rather than worrying about carrying a card or even their clunky smartphone whilst on a miles-long run, ride, or swim, they can simply rely on the GPS watch they already wear. If they need to make a purchase while they’re out? Garmin Pay has them covered.
“We are excited to provide our customers and Discover cardmembers with another way to pay while they are on the go,” said Garmin’s vice president of global consumer sales, Dan Bartel. “Having the ability to easily pay for purchases, without the need for a phone or wallet, is a feature that we are happy to bring to users who live an active lifestyle.”
Personally, I think the prevalence of mobile wallets as an everyday payment method is still pretty low, and likely to remain that way. We Americans just simply haven’t adopted the technology as quickly as other countries.
However, with the introduction of more and more on-the-go payment options that fit our existing lifestyles (such as Garmin Pay), mobile wallets might just take hold after all.