Mastercard Announces Smart Payment Partnership with Garmin

First we carried watches and wallets around, then phones too. Soon wallets and payment methods were added to our phones. Now Mastercard wants you to leave both behind and just bring your watch out with you.

A new announcement from Mastercard details the addition of payment capabilities to the recently launched Garmin vivoactive 3 watch. This allows customers to stop carrying their wallet or even phone around with them and just strap on their watch before they head out the door.

The announcement bodes particularly well for fitness enthusiasts who want to avoid carrying anything on runs or outings, as this new contactless payment method means owners of the vivoactive 3 can just tap their watch at any one of the more than 6.6 million merchant locations around the world.

To make use of the new feature, users have to download a Garmin app and enter their payment information by scanning a card or manually punching the numbers in. Once that card has been validated, it will be available right away whenever a user launches their wallet from the controls menu of the smartwatch.

“Technology is enabling fitness companies to provide athletes with the most comprehensive performance trackers we have seen in our time,” said Kiki Del Valle, senior vice president of commerce for every device at Mastercard. “Adding payment capability to these devices is a natural next step to make training and fitness experiences more relevant, personal, and convenient.”


This announcement is the latest in a string of features from the Commerce for Every Device plan by Mastercard. Everything from fridges to cars are on the radar to be used for payment solutions.

Mastercard values simplicity and security above everything else, and champions both with their token service. “Tokenization” means replacing your physical credit card number with a unique alternate number on a device, which is used for digital payments. However, they must be used in tandem, because if you use the tokenized number alone, it is useless. This adds an extra level of security and allows contactless payment users to sleep soundly.

“We want to be true training partners and support the active lifestyles of our users,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales. “With Mastercard technology, our users no longer need to be tethered to their physical wallets and can pay for things in a safe, simple, and secure way. This partnership enables us to empower our consumers to use the device that is most convenient to them, with a high level of security.”

The vivoactive 3 is Garmin’s attempt to match recent smartwatch offerings from Fitbit and Apple.