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Jawbone UP4 does double duty as a mobile wallet, but there’s a catch

Jawbone’s previous fitness tracker, the UP3, hasn’t even come out yet, but that isn’t stopping the company from moving onward and upward. For its next trick, the company is taking a route many wearables seem to be traveling these days and packing functionality normally reserved for smartwatches into a more simple device.

Two new bands were revealed by Jawbone today. The Jawbone UP2 is a sequel to last year’s UP24, but the more exciting reveal was the Jawbone UP4. Like the company’s other fitness trackers, the UP4 tracks your heart rate, sleep patterns, and physical activity, but unlike the rest, this one allows you to leave your wallet at home.

Like the Apple Watch, the Jawbone UP4 includes an NFC chip that allows it to act as a mobile payment solution. There is, however, a catch: the mobile payment functionality is only available to American Express cardholders.

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American Express partnered with Jawbone on this feature — hence the exclusivity — and naturally buyers who don’t already have an AmEx card will be invited to apply for a new card. Assuming everything goes smoothly, new customers could be instantly approved.

Using the Jawbone UP4 for mobile payments won’t be quite as easy as using Apple Pay or other similar solutions — without a screen on the device, users are left with only the payment terminal to verify a successful transaction — but this isn’t really intended to be your only option for mobile payments. Meanwhile, for runners, who often try to travel as light as possible, a fitness band that doubles as a wallet is a perfect fit.

Like Apple Pay, the system in place here ensures that your credit card details stay private by replacing your actual number with one dedicated to mobile payments.

The Jawbone UP3 will start shipping later this month and the company says that existing orders should ship by mid-May, and customers won’t have to wait much longer for the newer tracker either. The Jawbone UP4 will ship this summer and at $200 will sell for just $20 more than the UP3.