Before its Official Launch, Apple iWatch Already has a Competitor in Payments

Technology giant LG has come out with a new and improved smartwatch that can not only connect to LTE networks but also perform mobile payments without the need of connecting to a smartphone. The NFC chip in the watch enables it to perform mobile payments without pairing with a smartphone. The new smartwatch model is called Watch Urbane LTE. The watch runs on the Android Wear platform.

Android Wear, the wearable version of the popular mobile OS, brings much promise for payment systems. Payment companies are leveraging this wearable platform to offer customized payment apps for wearables running on Android Wear. Other popular Android Wear devices include Motorola’s Moto 360, LG’s G Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.

Even the giants in payments see a big potential in Android Wear. To cite an example, PayPal offers an app for Android Wear which allows users to check-in to pay at local stores, redeem offers, and receive payment notifications on-the-go.

Another notable example is that of Vesh Ventures which launched WearBucks, a dedicated Starbucks app for smart-watches. The app helps users set up their cards within the app and set the default one for payment. After this, simple voice commands can initiate the payment. A user can say, OK Google, start Pay for Starbucks, to make the payment.

Now with the LG smartwatch also bringing NFC into the picture, things will surely heat up between Android Wear and the iOS platform. Apple is also poised to launch its iWatch soon with NFC enabled payments capabilities. The launch of iWatch will reveal how will it stand up against competitors.

Moreover, Apple might have to look out for its fierce rival Samsung as well. There are no rumors or insights yet, but you never know when Samsung might add an NFC enabled smartwatch to its line of Galaxy Gear series. Samsung recently joined hands with LoopPay to come up with a new mobile payment system as a response to Apple Pay.