One of South Africa's top 5 largest banks, First National Bank of South Africa (FNB), has announced that customers can now make payments by simply tapping their compatible Fitbit or Garmin Wearable on any contactless-enabled point-of-sale device. This will be as a result of the customer having their VISA card linked on their wearable device.

To make payment, a customer simply selects the wallet feature and then taps their wearable on the contactless point of sale, just as they would when paying with their FNB Pay enabled smartphone or their contactless card.

“This latest offering complements a number of our digital solutions that enable customers to conveniently make payments without the need for carrying a physical card or cash. It further aligns to our ongoing strategy to migrate customers to digital channels where we continuously provide them with innovative and customer-centric solutions that meet a diverse range of needs,” said Jason Viljoen, Head of Digital Payments at FNB.

Payments using wearables in South Africa

Although this is a great innovation considering how many people are using wearable devices, especially for health purposes, the bigger concern is around security. Especially should your Fitbit or GARMIN wearable device get lost or stolen. However, FNB believes they have this covered with the security measures they have in place.

To this extent, FNB says that they have implemented multiple layers of security, such as encryption and tokenization. As a further security measure, whenever the Fitbit or GARMIN device leaves a customer's wrist, they will be required to enter their wearable pass-code once placed back on the wrist in order to re-activate the payments functionality.

“The device stays authenticated for 24 hours or until you take it off your wrist. In addition, the point of sale device will also prompt you to enter your card PIN for certain transactions. Both your card PIN and device passcode should never be shared with anyone.” said Viljoen.


Cover image credit: Fitbit