Image source: Polar

No NFC watch? No problem: Polar’s payment wristband is here

Polar has launched its first foray into contactless payments with a NFC wristband. Compatible with most Polar watches and only available in Europe for now, the wristband costs 60 euros.

This is a strategic move that is a bit of a surprise. Instead of embedding Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in a watch like its competition, Polar has chosen a more modular approach. This accessory allows users to make secure contactless payments directly from their wrist, eliminating the need to carry cash or cards during workouts.

How it works

The new Polar Payment Wristband utilizes NFC technology through a partnership with an outfit called Fidesmo. By simply tapping the wristband against a contactless payment terminal, users can complete transactions. 

One of the standout features of the Polar Payment Wristband is its compatibility with a wide range of Polar watches. Designed to fit standard 20 and 22mm lug widths, the wristband can be attached to both older and newer Polar watch models, essentially transforming them into payment-enabled devices. This flexibility caters to existing Polar users who may want to enjoy the convenience of contactless payments.

Polar NFC

Setting up the Polar Payment Wristband is a straightforward process. Users first download the Fidesmo Pay app to their smartphone and then connect the wristband to the app by holding it against the top edge of the phone. Once connected, users can securely link their credit or debit card to the Fidesmo Pay platform. From then on, making a payment is as simple as tapping the wristband against a contactless terminal.

Polar NFC

Of course, security is a paramount concern for any payment technology, and Polar has taken steps to ensure the safety of user data. When a card is linked to Fidesmo Pay, a unique token is generated and stored within the wristband. This token is used for transactions, ensuring that the actual card number remains confidential.

How and where to purchase, price

Crafted from soft and durable silicone, the Polar Payment Wristband is designed to be comfortable for extended wear during workouts and daily activities. The snug fit ensures accurate measurements from the Polar watch’s sensors, making it a seamless addition to any fitness routine.

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For now, the Polar Payment Wristband is available exclusively in Europe, and its functionality depends on the user’s bank supporting Fidesmo Pay. While this currently limits its reach, Polar and Fidesmo are actively working to expand bank compatibility, promising wider availability in the future. If you head over to the Polar website, there’s a list of countries and the banks supported in each of them.

Polar’s decision to launch a payment wristband instead of integrating NFC technology directly into a new watch model is a strange one. You’d think it would have been simpler to just build the tech into a new watch. On the plus side, at least the feature is backwards compatible – and works with existing devices. A NFC enabled strap will set you back 60 euros via the Polar website.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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