Image source: Fitbit

Google Wallet expands to Fitbit Charge 5

The Fitbit Charge 5 is getting an update that introduces Google Wallet functionality for contactless payments. This feature was already part of the Versa 4, Sense 2, and the newly launched Charge 6. This adds another layer of utility to the Charge 5, making it more competitive with its successor.

The Google Wallet update: A closer look

The addition of Google Wallet to the Charge 5 is a noteworthy development for current and potential Fitbit users. When accessing Fitbit Pay on their Charge 5, users are now given the option to switch to Google Wallet. So far the feature has started rolling out to iOS devices, but Android should follow soon.

Google Wallet allows for contactless payments, a convenient addition for those who prefer not to carry physical cards or cash. Setup is a straightforward process, and users can add their credit or debit cards to make transactions at NFC-enabled terminals.

To use Google Wallet on the Charge 5, you need to open the Fitbit app and navigate to the ‘Wallet’ section. From there, you can add their cards and set up a payment PIN for added security. During payment, users simply press and hold the button on the Charge 5 to activate Google Wallet, select the card they wish to use, and then hold the device near the payment terminal.

The payment process is quick, requiring only a few taps on the device. This feature is particularly useful for those who want to leave their wallets at home during workouts or runs, as it allows for quick and secure payments for post-exercise refreshments or other small purchases.

The payment ecosystem: Fitbit Pay vs Google Wallet

Fitbit Pay and Google Wallet both serve the purpose of enabling contactless payments, but they differ in several key areas. Fitbit Pay is limited to a specific list of banks and financial institutions that have partnered with the wearables manufacturer. This can be restrictive for users whose banks are not on the list, limiting their ability to use the contactless payment feature on their Fitbit devices.

Google Wallet, on the other hand, offers a broader range of compatibility. It supports a wider array of banks and financial institutions, making it a more flexible option for users. Additionally, Google Wallet allows for integration with multiple Google services, providing a more cohesive user experience for those already invested in the Google ecosystem.

Another difference lies in the user interface and setup process. Fitbit Pay requires users to set up a separate wallet within the Fitbit app, complete with its own security PIN. Google Wallet users, especially those who already use Google Pay on their smartphones, will find the setup process more streamlined, as it integrates with their existing Google accounts.

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Lastly, Google Wallet typically offers more features like rewards and transaction history directly linked to the Google Pay app, providing a more comprehensive overview of spending and earning rewards. Fitbit Pay, while functional, is more basic in its offerings and does not provide as many additional features.

Implications for current and prospective users

The addition of Google Wallet to the Charge 5 adds value to the device, making it more versatile for daily use. For those who were considering upgrading to the Charge 6 solely for Google Wallet functionality, this update may eliminate that need.

The differences between the two devices now boil down to a more accurate heart rate sensor on the Charge 6, additional workout modes, ability to broadcast heart rate data to 3rd party equipment, Google Maps integration and ability to control Youtube Music. Oh, and let’s not forget the addition of the physical button on the new fitness band.

The update comes at an appropriate time considering Fitbit’s recent app update, which is facing considerable backlash. This positive development serves as a counterbalance to the prevailing negative sentiment.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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