Paying from the wrist should come as standard on all smartwatches

Of all the features, this is the one that all connected timepieces should include
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Reading through the latest Fossil Group Android Wear smartwatch reviews penned by our US editor Hugh, I couldn't help but feel a touch disappointed to see a pattern emerging with the fashion brand's approach to its connected collection. I'm talking about the lack of love for contactless payments.

Now I don't have a problem with Fossil putting design before functionality, because a more fashionable approach is exactly what Google's smartwatch operating system has needed, but of all the features Wear opens the door to, the ability to pay for stuff seems like a no brainer to include.

Read this: Apple Pay v Samsung Pay v Android Pay

Earlier this year I spoke to Guess which will launch its Connect Android Wear watches over the coming months. Execs told me that the decision not to include the NFC chip needed to activate contactless payments was based on the fact that payment support remained varied across territories [countries] and it wanted to offer the same watch experience for all.

That's an entirely fair point and I get that. As we've already seen with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay (and we will no doubt see with Fitbit Pay on the Ionic smartwatch and Garmin Pay on the Vivoactive 3) there's a lot of work to be done to get support for these platforms up and running. Getting banks to sign up to these various platforms is one of the biggest obstacles. So maybe it's time for Google and company to spend a little less time on watch faces and more time on making sure what is arguably a killer smartwatch feature rolls out without issues. Then designer brands like Michael Kors, Diesel and Emporio Armani have more reason to include it.

Paying from the wrist should come as standard on all smartwatches

We already know that payment trends are changing and people are ditching the cash for digital transactions. In a recent survey carried out by Visa and PYMNT, over 70% of the respondents who owned a wearable device actually bought more and believed wearables saved time on making purchases.

The question is, does Fossil care about what you do with one of its smartwatches after you've bought the thing? Probably not. But maybe there's an opportunity for wearable payments to work for the hardware makers as well as the smartwatch owner. Incentives to use contactless payments to pay for more products from other Fossil brands could be one tactic. Something similar could work for Garmin and Fitbit when you're out for a run and need to grab a bottle of water.

Attitudes on smartwatches are changing and you can't deny that more are popping up on wrists in public, but the number would surely grow significantly if they were packing the features that really make owning one worthwhile. I'm not saying payment should be top of that features list, but it should definitely be a lot closer than it already seems to be for some brands.

Do you agree that payments are an essential smartwatch feature? Are there priorities elsewhere? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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