2017 Could be Big Year for Wearable Payments

It’s a short hop from thinking about mobile proximity payments in cell phones to thinking about them for the wearable market and beyond, but the practical challenges for device makers that want to offer payment functionality are considerable. A recent announcement from chip manufacturer STMicroelectronics, smartcard and payment security firm Geisecke & Devrient and payment software provider FitPay could simplify that process.

The companies are offering a joint solution for wearable-device manufacturers offering a secure software and hardware solution. The solution includes a chipset from ST that provides a precertified secure element enabling tokenized payment credentials to be personalized down to the device, a certified operating system from G&D enabling the provision of payment credentials to the device and a wallet developed by FitPay that integrates with payment tokenization from the card networks.

“The notion was to bring those elements together collaboratively so that for an OEM, everything exists in a single package,” Michael Orlando, CEO of FitPay, told CardNotPresent.com. “So, a hardware manufacturer can select a ST 54 chip, put it in their device, connect to us and turn on payments without having to go through the efforts of independently connecting their services and going through certification.”

Orlando notes that wearables don’t end with smart watches and fitness trackers. FitPay has implementations in process in with both jewelry manufacturers and car makers. And Orlando expects devices in market in Q2 and Q3 of this year.