The maker of fitness wearables partners with American Express to allow consumers to make in-store mobile payments with a wave of the wrist.

Jawbone, a fitness tracking wearable device, is among the first wearable devices to allow consumers to make in-store mobile payments.

The company announced that its latest product, the UP4, will be embedded with a Near Field Communication chip allowing customers to make purchases with their wearable device. Consumers will have to have an American Express Co. account to use the service. The UP4 will be available this summer for $199.

“We knew our users wanted the ability to go on a run or leave the house without having to bring their wallet with them,” a Jawbone spokeswoman says. “With UP4, we allow people to make payments without needing their wallet or purse—this allows users to quickly stop at a Whole Foods after a run, or grab a coffee while on the go.”

Having a consumer tap her wrist to pay saves her time instead of looking for a wallet or smartphone, says Tony Prentice, vice president of mobile payments at American Express.

American Express customers need to connect their credit card to their Jawbone device through Jawbone’s free Up app. A customer opens the Up app and selects payments. She logs in with her American Express user ID and password, and then selects a card to connect to the device. On the Jawbone device, the NFC chip is marked with the contactless symbol, which looks like the Wi-Fi symbol on its side. Consumers tap that symbol against the checkout terminal to pay.


Consumers can use this payment method wherever retailers accept American Express cards and have contactless checkout terminals. This includes Apple Pay POS systems. Jawbone says this totals hundreds of thousands of locations nationwide, including Whole Foods.

If a consumer loses her Jawbone device, she can suspend or deactivate the card in the Up app. Jawbone says it has millions of users, but declines to provide an exact number.

Mobile payments in stores via wearable devices are relatively new. Consumers can use Apple Pay with the Apple Watch wearable, which debuted at the end of April. But it’s still too soon to see if consumers will warm to paying with their watches in stores. Many stores, including The Home Depot, No. 20 in the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile 500, Whole Foods, Staples, No. 12, and Sephora, No. 176, are taking Apple Pay in stores, which means their terminals have the technology for consumers to also pay with AmEx via their Jawbone device.

22% of shoppers are interested in using in touchless or one-click payments from wearable devices, according to a survey of 1,021 U.S. consumers released in May 2015 by PowerReviews, a consumer review software company.



Follow mobile business journalist April Dahlquist, associate editor, mobile, at Internet Retailer, at @MobileStrat360A.

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