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Fashion brands upgrade smartwatches to add payment capabilities

Major fashion brands Kate Spade and Michael Kors recently upgraded their second-generation smartwatches that feature NFC capabilities to add payment capabilities. Kate Spade is launching the Scallop Smartwatch 2, its second touchscreen smartwatch that will include features like NFC payments, a GPS, and a heart rate monitor — all of which its first smartwatch did not include.

The watch runs on Google's Wear OS, its operating system for wearable devices, allowing users to access Google Pay, Google Assistant, and Google Fit. Michael Kors launched the Access Sofie 2.0, which offers NFC payment capabilities through Google Pay, a heart rate monitor, and a GPS.

Wearable payments are poised to take off in the US, but firms can take several steps to push adoption. Business Insider Intelligence expects US consumers to spend $3.5 billion on wearables by 2023. But some consumers are hesitant to buy payments-specific wearables, but would be interested in contactless payments that are integrated into existing devices, according to a Barclaycard study. Integrating payment functionality into an everyday watch, rather than making a wearable band specifically for payments, can appeal to consumers.