Who says mobile payments need to involve a phone? Jawbone and American Express have partnered to bring mobile payment capabilities to the new Jawbone UP4 fitness tracker. With the device, American Express cardholders will be able to make purchases anywhere that accepts contactless payments, even if they don’t have their phone on them.
Payments are handled using near-field communication (NFC), the same technology used in various smartphones and the Apple Watch to handle transactions. When you want to buy something at one of those supported merchants, you’ll just tap the wristband on the register. For now payments are restricted to American Express cardholders, so you currently can't pair your Visa or Mastercard to the device.
On the fitness tracker side of things, the UP4 is identical to the company’s existing UP3 tracker, which is set to start shipping next week. The device is capable of doing standard things like monitoring your activity throughout the day and sleep through the night. But it takes things a step further than your average tracker, adding bioimpedance sensors into the mix that can determine things like your heart rate, respiration and sweat level. It’s water-resistant up to 10 m (33 ft), and can last up to seven days on a single 100-minute charge.
The Jawbone UP4 is expected to be available later this Northern Hemisphere summer, which will mean many people will already be getting that fitness tracker + mobile payment combo with the Apple Watch. When the Jawbone UP4 does launch, the device will cost US$200, which is $20 more than the mobile payment-free UP3.
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