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How to pay with your smartwatch and which banks support it

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© nextpit by Ira Efremova

Contactless payment is totally in vogue and there are many reasons for this. No more fumbling with cash, just holding your card, smartphone or watch up to the reader and the job is done. Paying with a smartwatch is especially convenient, which is why we'll guide you through how it works and what it offers.

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Google Pay

To be able to use Google Pay on a smartwatch with Wear OS, you will first need the appropriate hardware - an NFC chip. Not all Android smartwatches offer it in 2019 yet - the LG Watch W7, for example, does without it, as do the Mobvoi Ticwatch E2 and S2. The watch must also have the latest version of Wear OS.

Paying with a smartwatch at the checkout works analogously to using a smartphone: when you have your total ready you can start the Google Pay app on your smartwatch and place it on the reader (instead of your phone or debit/credit card). When prompted, select the "credit card" option regardless of which card type you are actually using.

NFC is used to compare the data and complete the payment process. Depending on your country, there might be a 'floor limit', meaning that purchases over a certain amount will require entering your PIN or a signature. In Canada, for example, most financial institutions limit contactless payments to $CA100.

Here is a list of the biggest banks, credit unions and companies offering Google Pay in the US:

  • AMEX (all cards)
  • Bank of America (most cards)
  • Barclays US (all cards)
  • BBVA Compass (Consumer BBVA Compass Visa credit, debit, and prepaid cards)
  • Capital One (US Consumer Visa Credit, US Consumer MC Credit and Debit)
  • Chase (Chase Visa consumer credit, debit, and prepaid cards, Chase Visa business debit cards)
  • Discover (Discover Consumer Credit, PBoA Debit Cards)
  • Green Dot (Green Dot Everyday Mastercard, SEIU Everyday Mastercard)
  • HSBC (Consumer credit and debit cards)
  • USAA (Visa Debit and Credit, Mastercard Credit, and American Express Credit)
  • US Bank (Debit and credit Visa cards; credit Mastercard cards; consumer, small business, and corporate cards)
  • Wells Fargo (Consumer and Business Debit Visa, Consumer Prepaid Visa, Consumer Credit Visa and American Express, Business Credit Visa)

You can check out the full US list here, or the Canada list, UK list, the Australian one and finally the New Zealand list of banks that support Google Pay.

Emporio Armani 03
Many Android watches support Google Pay. / © NextPit

Apple Pay

For Apple fans there is only one choice when it comes to paying with a smartwatch: Apple Pay and an Apple Watch. The Apple system works with so-called tokens, which are considered particularly secure because the card data of the transaction is not stored on the iPhone, nor the Apple Watch, nor on the Apple servers for a longer period of time.

The processing of a payment is very simple: put the watch on the reader, wait a few seconds, enter your PIN if necessary and done! Once set up, Apple Pay works right across the product family and hardly ever causes problems in everyday life.

The list of banks that supports Apple Pay in the US is huge - you can check it out here, along with the list of Canadian banks. Readers from Australia and New Zealand can check if their banks work with Apple Pay here, while UK readers can follow this link.

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Apple fans swear by the Watch Series 4 / © NextPit

Samsung Pay

Samsung fans can use the Korean company's own payment system, Samsung Pay, especially if they own a Galaxy Watch. The Tizen OS found on most Samsung wearables does not have a Google Pay application. In the US, that shouldn't be an issue since Samsung Pay is supported by a variety of banks, credit unions and companies. Here are some of them:

  • Chase
  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • CITI
  • Discover
  • Capital One
  • US Bank
  • USAA
  • Barcleycard

You can check out the full US list here. Unfortunately, in the UK the list of banks which support Samsung Pay is a lot smaller. The same applies to Canada, where only these banks offer the Samsung service:

  • CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
  • RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)
  • Scotiabank
  • American Express
  • ATB

Australia is doing better in that regard (click here for full list), while in New Zealand the only option for Samsung Pay users seems to be ANZ.

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy watch 46 front
Samsung has its own payment system, which is not as widespread as Google Pay yet./ © NextPit

Garmin Pay

Garmin, known for its heart rate monitors and sports wearables, does not support the payment systems of Google, Apple or Samsung. It has instead introduced its own - Garmin Pay. It works just like the three big names in the industry, but only on a few Garmin smartwatches and not on smartphones. However, outside of the US, the number of banks that support it is limited. Here are some the US banks, which offer it:

  • Bank of America (Visa and Mastercard)
  • Capital One (Visa and Mastercard)
  • Wells Fargo (Visa)
  • U.S. Bank (Visa and Mastercard)
  • Discover
  • Chase (Visa)

You can view the full US list here, as well those for other countries by selecting your region and card type.

Garmin Fenix 5X Plus 10
Garmin watches are durable and practical / © NextPit

Fitbit Pay

In addition to Garmin, Fitbit also offers its own payment system for athletes. As with the others, it is simply called Pay and works on the Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa. Fitbit's simple pedometers have to get by without it. In the US, as we saw with Garmin Pay, a variety of banks and credit unions support the payment method:

  • Bank of America
  • American Express
  • Alliance Bank (Visa)
  • Capital One (Credit)
  • Chase Bank (Visa)
  • Wells Fargo
  • U.S. Bank

You can check the full list for all regions here.

AndroidPIT fitbit versa mobile payment
The Fitbit Versa is versatile, allowing you to make payments among other things. / © NextPit

Have you ever paid with a smartwatch or do you do it regularly? Let us know in the comments.

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  • 1
    briansuntrax Feb 16, 2020 Link to comment

    Just had it used sucessfuly on the credit card device in my store this morning - Cape Town South Africa.

  • Rusty H. 33
    Rusty H. Feb 20, 2019 Link to comment

    The thing I like about it, is that your actual card number is not transmitted or stored in the system, but, a one time token is collected between your card provider & the terminal. Very convenient.

  • 4
    Al38 Feb 19, 2019 Link to comment

    Use my Huawei watch version 2 all the time now. It's very quick and convenient and has never failed yet!

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