Forget contactless cards – Visa announces payment ring for Rio Olympics

What could be easier than tapping-to-pay with your phone, watch, or contactless card? Doing so with your ring, says Visa.

The payment giant has just announced a new contactless payment wearable for athletes to use during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. What’s special about this particular wearable is that it fits on your finger.

Visa’s payment ring will be given to 45 Olympic hopefuls from around the world who apparently “embody Visa’s values of acceptance, partnership and innovation.” Presumably they all have a tendency to leave their wallets at home, too.

This nifty payment ring packs a secure microchip with an embedded NFC antenna, which means that it can be tapped against up-to-date payment points to pay for stuff, just like your smartphone or contactless card can.

Visa is ensuring there are 4,000 NFC-enabled POS terminals dotted around the various Olympic venues in Rio, so ‘Team Visa’ athletes shouldn’t be left red faced when they attempt to buy a sandwich by fist-bumping the till.

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The Visa payment ring doesn’t require a battery to operate, and it’s also water resistant to 50 metres, so the swimmers shouldn’t feel left out. Indeed, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Missy Franklin is one of the athletes to be given Visa’s new gadget.

Visa has shown off a prototype version of this payment ring, which uses token technology to ensure that no account information is shared in any payment transactions.

There’s no news yet on when we might see such payment rings making their way to the general public.

Next, check out our first look at Android Pay:

Would you like to make payments using your ring? Let us know in the comments.