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Visa's Olympic payment rings to go on general sale

24 August 2016  |  9449 views  |  0 visa ring 3

NFC payment rings first sported by Olympian athletes in Rio are now available for pre-order to the general public.

Given to 45 'Team Visa' Olympic hopefuls, the rings feature Visa token technology, a design from McLear & Co. that includes a secure microchip made by Gemalto, with an embedded NFC-enabled antenna.

The waterproof rings do not require use of a battery or recharging and will retail for £39.99 from the site of manufacturer NFCRing.

The company showcased the first model of the ceramic ring, which enables users to pay for goods and purchases with a tap of their finger at contactless terminals, in 2015 with Visa and the UK fashion house House of Holland.

Visa is keen to emphasise that the commercial roll out of the product is purely driven by NFCRing, with no direct involvement by the card scheme. "NFCRing is the company that Visa worked with to deliver the test rings to clients and athletes during the games. We enjoyed working with them on this Olympic test project. However, while we have future plans for this technology, we have nothing to announce at this time with regards to making this product commercially available."

A recent Barclaycard survey of UK consumer sentiment for wearable payments suggests that a new trend of retrofitting cherished accessories with new functionality is emerging. Watches top the poll (62%) of items that Brits would most like to “future-fy” for fast-paced, convenient payments, followed by inherited jewellery (21%) and wedding rings (19%).

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