- Swatch has struck a deal with Visa to enable payments through its new smartwatch device in the U.S., Switzerland, and other countries.
- The Swiss watch company has already released a similar device in China with payments partner China UnionPay, using near-field communication (NFC) to “pay by wrist.”
- Apple Watch dominated the smartwatch market in 2015, with an estimated 3.8 million sold since its debut in April.
The world’s largest payments network, Visa Inc., will enable mobile payments made using a smartwatch device from Swiss maker Swatch as early as next year in the United States. Swatch has already released a similar smartwatch, the Swatch Bellamy, in China, with China UnionPay as its payments provider.
In 2004, Swatch released the Paparazzi smartwatch to deliver content from Microsoft’s MSN network directly to users’ wrists. Since then, the company has eschewed the category, insisting that watches are only timekeeping jewelry. This year, however, it and other Swiss watchmakers including Tag Heuer announced plans for connected devices.
The Apple Watch currently dominates the smartwatch market, having sold an estimated 3.8 million in fiscal 2015 to eclipse other device manufacturers such as Samsung. The Apple Pay network is also a dominant force in mobile payments, handling about two-thirds of all mobile payments in the U.S.
Swatch may be able to beat Apple in delivering a quality product at a fast-fashion price, however, and its brand recognition and partnership with Visa will likely get mobile payments on more wrists.