Chinese consumer tech enfant terrible Xiaomi has bunged a special NFC chip into its fitness wearable, giving it the power to serve as a Mastercard in Russia.
The Mi Smart Band 4 NFC, as the new device is known, has all the usual time-telling and movement-tracking functions. But it also includes an NFC chip cooked up by NXP to drive its mobile wallet application.
It’s not entirely fresh tech: Xiaomi and NXP have worked together on wearables for public transport systems in major Chinese cities.
But this time around the result is off-the-wrist contactless payments for Mastercard-holders of Russia’s Raiffeisenbank, VTB, Tinkoff Bank, Otkritie Bank, Rosselkhozbank, PSB, Russian Standard Bank, MKB, and Credit Europe Bank (Russia).
Making payments requires use of the Mi Fit app, so those banks are now funnels into Xiaomi’s ecosystem.
Xiaomi says it will add other card issuers over time and NXP says the Moscow adventure is the first step in a Europe-wide rollout of its payment tech. With mobile payments being a hot space contested by the likes of Apple, Google, all of China’s web giants and Facebook unit WhatsApp, Xiaomi and NXP have therefore found some useful friends. ®