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Wearable Tech

Fitbit Pay: What you need to know

Fitbit's Ionic smartwatch does more than just count steps; you can use it to buy things. Seriously.

Sarah Tew/CNET

After setting up and getting your Fitbit Ionic ($299.95 at Dell Home) watch to your liking, there's another feature you probably want to take some time to get to know.

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Fitbit Pay is the wearable company's mobile payment platform, meaning that with a flash of your wrist you can pay at a compatible POS system. Here's everything you need to know about the mobile payment platform. 

Fitbit compatibility

Currently, there is only one Fitbit device with Fitbit Pay support: the Fitbit Ionic.

You will need an Android, iOS or Windows phone in order to setup Fitbit Pay through the Fitbit mobile app.

Availability

Fitbit Pay is available in the following countries:

  • United States
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Even if your country is listed above, it's possible your bank does not support Fitbit Pay quite yet. Instead of listing out the rather lengthy number of banks on this post, it's better to point you to the Fitbit Pay Bank List. The company updates the page with new banks as needed, so if your bank isn't currently listed, keep checking back.

As for retailers, well, it's complicated. Most retailers are beginning to accept Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay. If you see a sign stating that the retailer accepts those payment sources, Fitbit Pay is also accepted.

Security

All of the major mobile payment services, be it from Apple, Samsung or Fitbit, use the same security features. Each time you make a mobile payment, a temporary, randomized card number is transmitted and used to complete the transaction. The retailer never receives your actual card number.

In addition to those security features, you are required to create a PIN code on the Fitbit Ionic. You can then set the Ionic to require the PIN each time you put it on, or the first time you access Fitbit Pay after removing the watch.

Fitbit Wallet

fitbit-pay-wallet

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Setting up Fitbit Pay is done through the Fitbit mobile app in a section called Fitbit Wallet.

Add a payment source to Fitbit Pay by launching the Fitbit app on your phone, tapping on the Ionic in the top-left corner, then selecting the Fitbit Wallet tile. If you haven't already set up a PIN code, you'll need to do that first.

Next, add your card's information (number, expiration, security code), followed by your name and address. Depending on the bank, you may need to take extra steps such as entering a short code sent via text from your bank for verification purposes. 

Additionally, you will need to have a lock screen of some sort set up on your phone — be it a PIN code, Touch ID/Face ID, or some other security method.

Make a payment

fitbit-pay-ionic

Jason Cipriani/CNET

To make a payment with the Ionic, press and hold the button on the left side of the watch until you feel a vibration and your payment card is displayed. Depending on your security settings, you may need to enter the four-digit PIN you set up in the Fitbit app.

If you have multiple cards added to Fitbit Pay, swipe left to switch cards.

Once your card is on the Ionic's screen, place the top of the watch next to the NFC payment terminal. A short vibration on the watch will let you know after your payment info has been sent to the POS system.

Australian users don't need to press the side button to activate Fitbit Pay on the watch. Instead, just hold the face of the watch next to the payment terminal to launch Fitbit Pay and transmit payment info.