Olympic Athletes Will Wear Visa's New Payment Ring in Rio
If you are making your way to this year's Olympic games in Rio, make sure you bring along your Visa card as the official venues will accept payment only with Visa this August. And at the biggest sports event of the year the company will introduce its brand new product – a ring that will enable customers to make payments just with a wave of their hand.
Sleek and discreet, the ring is rather simple in design and looks like a black or white ceramic loop. Its interior features a secure microchip and an embedded antenna. Such simple design is explained by the fact that the use of any decorative metal or dye would prevent the antenna to work. Even though the ring is not going to be custom-fitted, it will be available in 20 sizes so everyone is sure to find a perfect match. This ring has already been tested by a group that consisted of Visa employees and partners as well as 45 athletes sponsored by the payment provider. Swimmer Missy Franklin and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad also took part in the trial run.
By the way, this amazing ring was created with the needs of Olympians in mind: traditional wallets and other standard wearable can be really inconvenient for those who often have to change in and out of uniform. Some sportsmen admitted that they specifically wanted Visa to introduce something that could be easily integrated into the daily routine. So Visa created the ring that not only looks inconspicuous, but is also water resistant and doesn't require charging. The ring is designed to get some power from the payment terminal, which is enough to make the transaction. Visa's ring is not supposed to exchange as much information as Apple Pay or Android Pay, but it's equivalent to swiping your card. By the way Visa does provide a card with the ring to be used in situations when contactless pay is impossible.
Rings are bound to go missing, but Visa foresaw that situation too. In case of losing the payment band it can be easily deactivated with the help of a smartphone, and tokenization will prevent the thieves to get access to you data and finances. In other words, the ring features a digital identifier used to process payments, but doesn't store any personal information.
Now the ring is just a prototype and unfortunately general public won't be able to use it during the Olympic Games in Rio. However, the Olympic Village is going to serve as a testing ground to determine how it works.
The most common problem with the ring caused by its diminutive design is that it performs excellent when the full 'O' of it faces the terminal. But when it's held at a 90-degree above the keypad, the reader fails to pick it up.