Fitbit's Payment System That You'll Never Use is Live With a Bank You've Never Heard of

By Tom Pritchard on at

With Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Vodafone Pay, PayPal, and whatever the hell Barclays is trying to peddle these days, the country didn't need another mobile payment system. And yet there is another one in the form of Fitbit Pay, a system exclusive to the new Ionic smartwatch.

The payment system that you're never going to use is now live in the UK, but its only partner is a bank that you've never heard of.

Fitbit Pay can link up to a Starling Bank account, letting you spend money with your watch - just like you can with an Apple Watch, Android Wear, or Samsung Gear. The only problem is that Starling Bank is very, very new. As in, it only received a UK banking licence last July, and it only became available to the public in March.

Starling is an app-based bank, though that isn't entirely different to what most banks have to offer these days. Given its small size, however, it's not surprising that it would jump at the chance to integrate its services into mobile payment systems. It also supports Android and Apple Pay, but not Samsung.

Fitbit has promised that it is in discussions with other banks to integrate their services into Fitbit Pay, but I'm curious as to why they even bothered launching it in the first place. Fitbit owners generally pair their devices with a smartphone, the overwhelming majority of which come with a mobile payment system preinstalled. Except Windows, but even Microsoft admits that the mobile platform is dead.

Obviously Fitbit wants a slice of the mobile payment revenue that Apple and the rest are no doubt enjoying, but did they stop to think how many people would actually use it? Especially since its launch only has a single bank on offer. People don't pick their banks based on mobile payments. [TechRadar]

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