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article imageNFC Ring lets you pay with a tap of your finger

By James Walker     Aug 24, 2016 in Technology
You can now tap-to-pay using nothing more than your finger at hundreds of thousands of stores in the U.S. and U.K.. The NFC Ring is a Visa-based payment ring that is now available for anyone to pre-order. It made its debut at the Rio Olympics this month.
NFC Ring was first demonstrated in 2015 in conjunction with payments provider Visa. After being successfully crowd-funded on Kickstarter, the first production units were given to athletes participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics earlier this month. Athletes could purchase goods in stores in the Olympic Village by raising their hand to the payment terminal.
Tap-to-pay is traditionally powered by your phone and an app such as Apple Pay, Android Wallet or Samsung Pay. You can complete small transactions by tapping your phone to the card reader at an increasing roster of supporting stores. NFC Ring simplifies things even further. Once you've added your card to the companion app on your phone, you can pay by placing your hand against the reader.
Not having to remove your phone from your pocket could benefit people in a hurry or those carrying several bags. Much of the convenience of tap-to-pay is lost when you're trying to buy multiple products, an issue NFC Ring could avoid. Holding your hand to the terminal will be enough to complete the transaction.
You don't even need to keep your phone in your pocket while making payments with NFC Ring. You can leave the house without your phone in the confidence you can still pick up some groceries or get more fuel on the way home. NFC Ring uses a system of anonymising tokens to make payments on its own once authenticated. The Apple Watch uses the same solution.
NFC Ring
NFC Ring
NFC Ring
NFC Ring can be used at dozens of stores, supermarkets, restaurants and gas stations in the U.S. and U.K.. The current list includes Starbucks, Tesco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Ikea, M&S, Target, Staples, McDonald's and many more. The majority of big-name stores now have NFC payment terminals and adoption is growing. As more people begin to use tap-to-pay, the number of supporting locations is only going to increase.
NFC Ring said that almost 20% of the U.K.'s 1.7 million terminals now support contactless payments. Adoption in the U.K. looks set to increase dramatically in the next four years. All terminals must be contactless by 2020, according to a new law.
Uptake is already high in Canada. 75 percent of retailers there support contactless payments. In the U.S., the current level of adoption is comparable to the U.K.. 17 percent of the nation's 13.9 million terminals are NFC-equipped. The current trend is "rapid increase of merchant adoption," according to Visa.
That's good news for NFC Ring and its wider ambitions. The company hinted at an expansion into several other fields as part of its long-term vision. It looks set to expand beyond pure payments and allow you to do more with a tap of your finger.
"We believe that all people should have new abilities right on their hand," the company said. "Open your door with the wave of your hand. Make payments. Share business cards with ease. Enter the metro. And many other capabilities we have as part of our long-term vision."
With the Olympic Games over, NFC Ring is now available to the general public. Pre-orders will begin shipping in December and are available with customisable ring sizes to fit your finger. The ring is priced at $53 in the U.S. or £40 in the U.K..
More about NFC, nfc ring, contactless payments, Payments
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