Regular readers may recall that I bitch slapped SWATCHPay! Their contactless pay plastic fantastic art watches don’t impress me much. Timex Pay takes the concept and runs with it, solving two major problems associated with the Swiss system . . .
First, Timex Pay is available right-now-this-second to United States’ citizens (SWATCHPay! launched in Switzerland, and stayed there). That’s as long as said citizens have a Chase Visa debit or credit card.
A quick scan of credit card comparison websites reveals they’re all pretty much a scam. The comparison websites I mean. In terms of interest rates and rewards, Chase’s plastic is about as good or bad as any other major bank card. Anyway, the other improvement . . .
Timex Pay works though an RFID chip embedded in the watch band, not via an antenna hiding in the watch case (a la SWATCHPay!). Timex’s system doesn’t need batteries – assuming you buy the Marlin Automatic.
As you can see by the hat tip on the watch strap, Tappy Tech provides the “wearable token service” technology behind Timex’s “smart” watch bands. As Tappy’s partners include Bank of America and Citibank, Timex is highly likely to spread the contactless love to other banks’ customers.
Timex currently offers six Timex Pay watches with the smart straps. Surprisingly, or strategically, the American-owned Chinese-reliant watchmaker’s also selling the straps separately.
You can put a Timex Pay band onto any [spring bar enabled] watch with a 20mm strap/lug width. Buy one of 10 Tappy-fied Timex straps for 50 bucks, fit it to your fave compatible timepiece and call it good.
Set-up and operation is simple enough. You download the Timex Pay app (Apple or Android), pair it with the band and Bob’s your uncle. To buy stuff, you wave your TP-enabled watch band over the contactless pay doo-hickey at checkout.
The app provides the usual list of purchases – time, place, amount. The charges also appear on your normal credit card statement. Tappy’s tokenization system prevents hacking. If you lose your watch, you can kill the Timex Pay link from your phone.
The central question about Timex Pay: who needs it? Well, no one needs it. Are we really at the point where we’d buy a new watch – or re-equip an old one – to avoid the “hassle” of retrieving our card from our wallet/purse/murse? To reduce time-to-pay? Talk about first world problems . . .
Then again, COVID has raised germ wariness to new heights. Keeping your wallet hidden is an excellent way to reduce the risk of pickpockets. And you’re a lot less likely to lose your watch than your wallet. So you heard it here first: it’s a hit. Eventually. Maybe.