MasterCard’s partnership with biometrics startup Nymi made a considerable splash when they completed the first heart beat-powered payment at a Toronto gas station last summer, but the payment provider wasn’t finished with its wearable partnerships.
Today, as part of its expanding Commerce For Every Device program, the company announced a partnership with Coin, a US-based startup that offers hardware solutions for payment providers. Its first product of the same name allows individuals to store credit and loyalty cards digitally inside the secure chip of what appears to be a credit card with a small e-paper display.
Coin, however, has expanded its focus to be the turnkey hardware and software vendor for a number of wearables, including Atlas’s Moov fitness bracelet and Omate’s various smartwatches.
The move comes at a time when Apple, Google and Samsung are all promising mobile payments from their own class of wearables. Apple Pay, which launched in Canada in early December, allows American Express users to make mobile payments from their wrists, while Android and Samsung Pay, respectively, have yet to launch in that smaller form factor but will in the coming months.
Coin’s partnership wfith MasterCard adheres to its MasterCard Digital Enablement Service, a set of standards for tech companies to integrate and facilitate payments at a hardware and software level.
Both Visa and MasterCard have been moving to enable payments in a variety of devices and form factors, with wearables well suited to being the first expansion of that role. Ultimately, though, the form factor doesn’t matter: both payment companies want anything and everything to enable payments, as long as they conform to the strict rules surrounding security, privacy and convenience.
While Coin’s products are not available in Canada, the MasterCard partnership is likely the tip of the iceberg in a long chain of agreements that will solidify over the next couple of years.