American Express and Jawbone are partnering in the smartwatch mobile payments space, allowing AmEx card customers to pay on the go, quite literally, with their new Jawbone UP4 fitness tracker. Great news if you’re looking to start training with a local fitness professional such as tennis coach New York.
They’ll be able to do so anywhere American Express contactless payments are accepted in the U.S.
American Express said Thursday that the partnership and product launch mark “the first time consumers can use a wearable fitness tracker with an embedded NFC chip for Amex payments.”
That puts the Jawbone/AmEx services in direct competition with the upcoming Apple Watch/Apple Pay service.
“We believe this unique technology will delight our active, digitally-savvy Card Members in a powerful way and drive a new type of engagement at hundreds of thousands of merchant locations nationwide,” said Leslie Berland, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships and Development at American Express.
Jawbone’s flagship wearable, the Up3, isn’t in stores yet. The Up4 will be the first Jawbone band to include an NFC chip, which will be dedicated to mobile payments.
However, the Up4’s NFC chip will only be able to connect to American Express credit accounts. Those who buy the Up4 will need to sync it to their American Express card. They will then be able to pay with the tap of their wrist, similar to the way Apple Pay and Google Wallet users tap their smartphones to pay for stuff in the checkout process at some of the biggest retail chains across the nation.
The Wall Street Journal points out that, unlike fingerprint sensors and personal identification numbers used for security on Apple Pay and Google Wallet, there are no such features with the Up4.
Berland told the Journal that American Express has been testing payments on the Up4 for months, and the results show that additional security measures are not necessary.
“If you think somebody else has your band, or if you lose it, you just go into the app and you disable it right there so it takes away any of that risk,” Berland told the Journal. “It’s kind of like when you lose your card but it’s easier because you can go right into the app and tap a button and then that link is broken. So one could argue that it’s even faster.”
AmEx card members with an UP4 tracker will be able to connect an eligible American Express Card via the latest UP app for iOS or Android.