Wearable Tech World Feature Article
April 15, 2015

Fitness Bands Enter the Realm of Mobile Commerce

The push toward perpetual connectivity leaves no mobile commerce niche unexplored.  In fact, an innovation in the making will allow fitness band users to shop using nothing more than their lightweight wrist accessories.  

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, American Express and Jawbone will soon allow AmEx cardholders to buy from certain merchants on their fitness bands—more specifically, on a forthcoming fitness band. The offer will not be included in the newest Jawbone product, the UP3.

The Jawbone feature will only work with brick-and-mortar vendors that utilize near-field communication (NFC) technology, which as the Wall Street Journal notes comprises a meager 10 percent of U.S. merchants, and there is yet to be word on whether the feature will expand to Visa and MasterCard holders.

With so many limitations and so few venues for use, the new feature would appear to be rather exclusive. Still, it makes sense that fitness band developers would want to begin testing the waters of mobile commerce. Apple Watch and other smartwatches have health and fitness applications built in that could obviate dedicated devices such as those developed by Jawbone. Many smartwatches, including the Apple Watch already, will harness NFC as a feature.  In order to compete with a device that has enormous market potential, fitness band developers need to consider every possible avenue for multi-tasking—especially for the younger generations of users—which is what Jawbone would appear to be doing with its AmEx collaboration.

For now, Jawbone is getting its feet wet, but only time will tell if fitness bands can make a splash in the mobile commerce ocean.   

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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