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Smart watches and smart payments


Hero Edward Ingman Hero Edward Ingman Placehoder

Writer: Ninni Saajola

Nowadays users want more from their watch: it has to be a tool not only to track health, but also for reading emails or purchasing groceries. The new Suunto 7 is ready to launch wearable payments.

Until now, users have been divided between sport watch owners or smart watch owners and often, the same users have ended up buying both versions.

The latest watch trend is now to combine the two, and this is what the Finnish watch brand Suunto is doing with their new watch Suunto 7 – it combines the features from both sport and smart watches, so that users can follow their health, track their daily activity, take care of running things and soon make payments with the same watch.

Monitoring well-being encourages movement

Many employers have realized the importance of their staff’s wellbeing. For example payment company Bambora aims to invest in the staff’s wellbeing through preventive action, i.e. exercise.

“We have had a personal trainer to talk about the physical wellbeing’s effect on working life. Our employees have made their own plans to improve life quality, whether it has to do with sleep, nutrition or exercise”, says Edward Ingman, Head of office Bambora Helsinki.

Ingman also participates to these goals himself by following his activity with a similar Suunto 9 watch.

“I personally use Suunto 9 to follow my exercise and steps. It is easy to check if there are steps missing from the daily goal and then have a quick walk or run to achieve the goal”, he says.

Same watch with sport gear or suit

The overall trend of following and improving health explains the fast sales growth of smart and sport watches. Besides the features connected to sports, activity and wellbeing, these watches are expected to look good too.

“I tend to use the same watch all the time, as it looks stylish with business or workout outfits”, laughs Edward.

Launching wearable payments soon

Suunto 7 represents both smart and sport watches user features; besides following activity, it has functions such as mobile apps, music, Google Assistant and the ability to pay.

Ingman clarifies that paying with a watch, mobile phone or for example wristbands is based on the same principle as contactless payments.

“It does not matter, if the chip is in the watch, card or under the skin – they all use the same NFC-technology, meaning these payments are just as safe.”


Suunto 7 uses this technology and technically it can be used to pay with a Google Pay account.

Smart watch represents payment method called wearable payments, which depends on the support of local banks. At the moment in Finland there are few banks, Bambora’s partner banks OmaSp and Aktia included, that support Google Pay. Suunto 7 uses WearOS platform (previously Android Wear) together with Google Pay, which is not yet supported in the Nordics. But the experts believe this support will arrive soon due the demand of consumers.

Wearable payments are here, what’s next?

Product Portfolio Manager at Bambora, Emilia Sandahl, sees that solutions such as Suunto 7 will soon have, is the the near future.

“Users should try wearable payments or other types of payment methods just to see how easy and care free it is”, Sandahl encourages.

Paying with a watch allows consumers to leave their wallets and mobile phones at home when going out to shop groceries or to purchase a cool drink from a kiosk after a long run. Unlike the phone or the wallet, a watch is also not that easy to lose, as it literally is attached to the user all the time.

Even though smart watches and other wearable devices are the near future of payments, we should also start to keep an eye on even more innovative ways, such as payments chips under the skin. “The technology to use an under skin payment chip is already in use, as it is based on the same technology as contactless payments. But before it reaches mainstream popularity, I believe consumers will first begin to use other devices, such as watches, now that contactless card payments are quite normal part of the payment behavior”, says Emilia Sandahl.