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Smartwatches to pay with NFC

Smartwatches to pay with NFC

THE NFC payments are one of the latest technological frontiers introduced in the field of digital payments. The technology is now implemented on a permanent basis in many smartphones, but also in many models of wearable devices, mostly smartwatches.

Basically, all smartwatches that integrate compatibility with NFC technology are compatible with digital payments. In addition to hardware compatibility, such devices interface with a digital payments platform, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay to name the best known and most popular. So let’s go see what they are all models of smartwatches on the market that offer the possibility to pay in contactless mode via an NFC module.


What is NFC and what is it for

There near-field communication (NFC) is a wireless data transmission technology based on radio frequencies, which has the characteristic of working when the communicating devices are within a radius of 10 cm than the other. The NFC technology was developed jointly by Philips, LG, Sony, Samsung and Nokia and now we find it integrated in different types of devices.

In many ways we can compare NFC technology with the Bluetooth protocol: the main difference between the two technologies is precisely the range of action. To use this communication mode, a transceiver compatible with the frequencies at which the NFC operates must be integrated into the device’s motherboard. Alternatively, a separate NFC-compatible module can also be integrated.

The NFC we find it in many models of smartphones and smartwatches nowadays, and is essentially implemented to make digital payments compatible with current security standards. Using NFC on a smartphone or smartwatch to pay is essentially equivalent, even in practice, to pay contactless with your credit or debit card.

Payment platforms and compatible models

In this paragraph we get to know the main platforms of NFC mobile payments dedicated to smartwatches. For each platform you will find compatible smartwatch models: clearly these are only the compatible models currently on the markettherefore those arriving and those now out of production are not included.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is the mobile payment service created by Apple and presented in September 2014: it allows you to pay in contactless mode using your iPhone or Apple Watch and works both in physical and online stores.

Models compatible with Apple Pay

On Apple’s side, things are very simple with all Apple Watch models compatible with NFC payments and therefore compatible with Apple Pay. So all Apple Watch Series 1 and later models are compatible with contactless payments.

Google Pay

Google Pay (stylized as G Pay) is a service of payments in mobility created by Google, which was born as a merger of two previously available services: Android Pay And Google Wallet.

Models compatible with Google Pay

In the following list we find all compatible smartwatches with NFC payments and with Google Pay, i.e. those that have Google’s Wear OS as operating system:

Garmin Pay

Garmin Pay is the digital payments platform developed by Garmin for its devices. The operation is almost identical to that seen for the other platforms, with users who will be asked to configure their payment cards through the mobile app. So let’s go and see all models of compatible Garmin smartwatches.

Garmin Pay compatible models

Let’s check all models Garmin smartwatches compatible with NFC payments:

Fitbit Pay

The Fitbit-developed digital payments platform came when the company was still independent. Now that it’s been acquired by Google, Fitbit Pay remains up and running. The procedures for associating the card and activating the service are the same as for the other platforms.

Fitbit Pay compatible models

So let’s go and see all compatible models with Fitbit Pay:

Mi Band 6 (NFC)

Among the large producers we have seen so far we do not find Xiaomi, which actually offers on its Mi Band 6 also the possibility of paying via NFC. The NFC model of the Mi Band 6 arrived in Italy in September 2021, and interfaces with digital payments with the platform directly integrated into the Xiaomi firmware. It will therefore not be necessary to install Google Pay or similar.

Currently Xiaomi Mi Band 6 offers card-compatible digital payments MasterCard and payment systems Nexi. In addition to these, we find compatibility with Curves, the “aggregator” payment card: this compatibility in turn opens the door to compatibility with all the cards supported by Curve. Find more details at the official Curve website.

Compatible banks

So let’s go see what the compatible banks with the digital payment platforms we have just seen. In order not to lengthen the article too much, you have to press the “discover” button to expand the list of your interest.

Apple Pay

Google Pay

Garmin Pay

Fitbit Pay


Digital payments via smartwatch can give rise to some doubt about the safety aspect. In reality, this type of payment provides security standards equal to those that occur when making payments by credit or debit card.

From the point of view of enabled POSs, the data transmission technologies are the same as compared to card payments, while from the point of view of wearables it is foreseen entering the PIN whenever the smartwatch is removed from the wrist. In addition, the PIN is entered every time the card is accessed to make a payment.

Finally, also the change of card associated with the payment profile on the smartwatch is subject to entering the PIN, as well as subject to access to the paired smartphone for card change.