Fitbit has acquired mobile wallet provider Coin. This looks like another step in Fitbit’s ongoing fight with Apple as they move to add more smartwatch capabilities to their already strong fitness and well-being capability.
The transaction was completed on 12 May 2016.
The company says the acquisition “is indicative of Fitbit’s commitment to innovation, which centers on making connected health and fitness devices that are motivating, smart, and stylish”.
The crown jewels for Fitbit are the people and intellectual property specific to Coin’s wearables payment platform that they have acquired. Fitbit says there are no plans to integrate Coin’s wearable payments technology into the 2016 Fitbit product roadmap. , the acquisition accelerates Fitbit’s ability to develop an active NFC payment solution that could be embedded into future Fitbit devices,
However, future versions of the technology could land in new Fitbit models over the coming years. , the acquisition accelerates Fitbit’s ability to develop an active NFC payment solution that could be embedded into future Fitbit devices,
The challenge for Fitbit, as Apple has found, will be in convincing banks to take them on as payments partners. Although, they might take a different approach by integrating with credit card companies directly. For example, they could work with VISA or MasterCard to access their contactless payment platforms.
For what it’s worth, and I’m a Fitbit owner, I’m not convinced the addition of more complexity to the Fitbit platform is a good thing. For starters, the level of security required when you’re in the payments business is well in excess of that needed when protecting other personal information.
And Fitbit has made its name by delivering a high-quality fitness and well-being platform. There’s plenty of scope for improvement in their current products. For example, waterproofing for all devices and integrated GPS for the Blaze would be a good place to start.
I’d prefer to see those omissions addressed before mobile payments.