Pebble’s new smart strap lets users pay with NFC technology

Patrick O'Rourke

February 9, 2016 8:00am

Pebble and FitPay today announced a new crowd-funded initiative that is set to allow Pebble Time owners to pay for items with their wrist at most retail locations that accept credit cards.

The NFC-enabled strap, developed through a partnership with Pagaré, looks nearly identical to a normal Pebble strap and allows users to upload either their credit or debit card to the device; it’s also the first smart strap for the company’s smartwatch. While Pebble is supporting Pagaré’s creation of its smartwatch, the company has no actual say in its production.

When the Pebble Time was first revealed last year, the company heavily touted the smartwatch’s compatibility with third-party watch straps, but the Pagaré is the first smart strap to be announced for the Pebble Time.

The Pagaré is being developed through a partnership between Pebble and FitPay, a startup focused on developing mobile payment methods that just received $3.1 million USD in funding from investors.

Equipping the strap enables Apple Pay-like functionality with Pebble’s Time and Time Round smartwatches. Since the Pagaré’s NFC chip is located within Pebble’s strap, the wearer only needs to swipe their arm over the payment machine to activate the functionality.

The Pagaré’s Kickstarter campaign has currently secured $40,000 USD of its $120,000 USD goal from 644 backers, and with 29 days still to go in the campaign.

It’s unclear, however, if Pebble’s smart strap will be compatible with Canadian credit and debt cards. The only mobile payment system currently available in Canada from a large tech multinational is Apple Pay, though FitPay appears to be optimistic it will be able to launch the strap in countries outside of the U.S. A statement on the strap’s Kickstarter page reads as follows:

  • casey

    I’ve actually contacted them on Kickstarter and they said they don’t ship to Canada because they don’t have the partnership with banks yet. The only one there close on is RBC. For now we once again left out.

    • JRK

      Better than shipping a non-functioning product IMO

    • Adam Olivero

      Thanks Casey for the Clarification.

  • Adam Olivero

    Considering Android Pay isn’t in Canada yet…..

  • Colin Matthes

    NFC technology is really cool that it enables payment at close range, but I think NFC will quickly be replaces with NFMI which works at a greater ranger.

    FreeLinc has been working on developing on NFMI for a few years now, and I expect to see NFMI incorporated in our phones very quickly, making payment even easier.