Swatch brings its contactless payments service to Europe

Buyers provision payments functionality by placing their new watch on the in-store SwatchPay! Box
ACTIVATION: Buyers provision payments functionality by placing their new watch on the in-store SwatchPay! Box

Fashion watch buyers in Switzerland can now choose from one of a range of four Swatch watches that come with support for SwatchPay! contactless payments — and enable customers to use a specially designed ‘SwatchPay! Box’ to instantly provision their bank card to their new watch in the store.

The launch of the contactless payments service in Switzerland follows the introduction of Swatch Pay in China in July 2017 and adds support for tokenization to the service for the first time.

Banks and card issuers supporting the launch include Cembra Money Bank, Cornèrcard, Credit Suisse, Swiss Bankers, Swisscard, UBS, Viseca and Boon.

“More than 75% of all electronic point of sale systems in Switzerland currently support the payment method, and all the major domestic banks in Switzerland are participating in the SwatchPay! System,” the watch brand says.

Customers choosing one of the CHF85 (US$85.47) watches are able to instantly provision a bank card to their new watch by downloading the dedicated SwatchPay app for iOS or Android, snapping a picture of their bank card with their smartphone’s camera and placing their new watch on the in-store SwatchPay! Box.

A video produced by Swatch shows how the process works in practice:

“As soon as this process is completed, the consumer can pay for goods and services at any contactless point-of sale terminal,” Swatch says.

“SwatchPay! uses an NFC radio chip hidden underneath the watch dial. Customers simply place their wrist with the watch next to the contactless payment terminal at the checkout counter. The terminal reader then exchanges payment information with the chip, and that’s all there is to it!

“The payment terminal supplies the energy needed for this process, which means that unlike any smartphone, the SwatchPay! Watch doesn’t require batteries to make payments. Like all other Swatch models, the SwatchPay! Watch is water-resistant to a depth of 30 meters, which makes it more flexible and durable than other payment methods.”

“Continuous innovation is a key strand of the Swatch DNA,” says Carlo Giordanetti, Swatch’s creative director. “This latest advance, with the introduction of the fastest and simplest tokenization, makes it easier than ever to pay ‘forever’ — token up your Swatch, swipe it and you’re done.”

Swatch launched its first smartwatch with NFC payments, the Swatch Bellamy, in China in October 2015 and expanded availability to the US, Switzerland and Brazil in November 2015 before introducing its second generation Swatch Pay service in China in 2017.

“It was only natural for Swatch to add Swatch Bellamy to the existing product portfolio,” Giordanetti told NFC World in an in-depth interview for the first edition of our What’s New in Payments report. “It is easy to use, friendly, uncomplicated and universally appealing thanks to its design and price positioning.”

“People have really understood the added value of having a stylish and easy-going accessory, allowing them to settle all kinds of purchases with a simple gesture. Many have seen the safety aspect of having a non-precious watch on their wrist for such operations, allowing for a light-hearted, open-air experience at any time.”