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Mobile Payments

Visa to put a ring on mobile payments at the Olympic Games

Friday 3 June 2016 | 11:48 AM CET

The Visa payment ring is set to launch at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil for 45 athletes. A prototype of the device was shown off at an event in New York City.

Using its Visa Token service, which replaces the attached card's sensitive payment information with a unique digital identifier, the ring can be used to process payments without exposing any account details in the transaction.

When an NFC-ready payment terminal is prepared to accept a card, just make a fist and gently "fist bump" the terminal. The payment is accepted automatically from there, as if you had just swiped your card.

However, save for a secure microchip made by Gemalto and a tiny, NFC-enabled antenna, there's nothing else inside this waterproof ring designed by McLear & Co. That means there's no need to charge this device, as any payment terminal picks up the hard work once it reads Visa's unique token from the ring's otherwise dormant microchip.

More than that, the Visa's payment ring it's tied to a prepaid, contactless debit card supplied by Visa. Athletes will have to load up their ring – with cash via an online portal before gently punching the nearest point of sale. Visa representatives said that this is just a test for Visa.

Once the ring gets the Olympian seal of approval, perhaps we'll see an official Visa Payment Ring tied straight to our debit cards. 

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