Pebble and FitPay today announced a new crowd-funded initiative that is set to allow Pebble Time owners to pay for items with their wrist at most retail locations that accept credit cards.
The NFC-enabled strap, developed through a partnership with Pagaré, looks nearly identical to a normal Pebble strap and allows users to upload either their credit or debit card to the device; it’s also the first smart strap for the company’s smartwatch. While Pebble is supporting Pagaré’s creation of its smartwatch, the company has no actual say in its production.
When the Pebble Time was first revealed last year, the company heavily touted the smartwatch’s compatibility with third-party watch straps, but the Pagaré is the first smart strap to be announced for the Pebble Time.
The Pagaré is being developed through a partnership between Pebble and FitPay, a startup focused on developing mobile payment methods that just received $3.1 million USD in funding from investors.
Equipping the strap enables Apple Pay-like functionality with Pebble’s Time and Time Round smartwatches. Since the Pagaré’s NFC chip is located within Pebble’s strap, the wearer only needs to swipe their arm over the payment machine to activate the functionality.
The Pagaré’s Kickstarter campaign has currently secured $40,000 USD of its $120,000 USD goal from 644 backers, and with 29 days still to go in the campaign.
It’s unclear, however, if Pebble’s smart strap will be compatible with Canadian credit and debt cards. The only mobile payment system currently available in Canada from a large tech multinational is Apple Pay, though FitPay appears to be optimistic it will be able to launch the strap in countries outside of the U.S. A statement on the strap’s Kickstarter page reads as follows:
“We working with our payment network partners to formalize relationships with issuing banks outside the United States. We will continue to update you as those relationships are established. It is our expectation that at launch, we will have a similar global footprint as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.”
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