Visa produces contactless payment ring for Olympic athletes

- Technology - Jun 10, 2016

Olympic athletes will be able to buy goods with a special ring given to them by Visa.

Visa has revealed the first payment wearable ring backed by a Visa account. The Visa payment ring will be given to all Team Visa athletes in Rio, a group of 45 Olympic hopefuls from around the world who embody Visa’s values of acceptance, partnership and innovation.

The Visa payment ring is NFC-enabled, allowing Team Visa athletes to make purchases by simply tapping their ring at any NFC-capable payment terminal.

Key features of the ring make this a unique payment experience. The ring uses the patented NFC Ring design of McLear & Co. that includes a secure microchip made by Gemalto, with an embedded NFC-enabled antenna, enabling contactless payment capabilities.

Unlike many other payment wearables, the ring does not require use of a battery or recharging. It is also water resistant to a depth of 50 meters, meaning Team Visa athlete and Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin can go from the pool to payment all with the tap of her ring.

Visa has demonstrated an advanced prototype version of the Visa payment ring, which uses token technology provided through Visa Token Service, making it the first tokenized payment ring. Visa’s token technology replaces sensitive payment information, such as the 16-digit account number, with a unique digital identifier that can be used to process payments without exposing actual account details.

“Visa’s first payment ring puts smart payment technology right on the hands of our athletes for convenient and easy payments,” said Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa Inc. “This ring is the latest example of how Visa is continuously innovating to deliver on its goal of universal acceptance at the games and across the world.”

“As an Olympian, rings have a special meaning to me,” said Missy Franklin, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and Team Visa athlete. “The Visa ring is a great innovation that I know all the athletes competing in Rio will enjoy as it will be great to go from a competition to purchase without having to carry a wallet or card.”

As the exclusive payment provider of the Olympic Games, Visa is creating and managing the entire payment system infrastructure and network throughout all venues including stadiums, press centers, point-of-sale (POS), the Olympic Village and Olympic Superstores.

In Rio, Visa will implement approximately 4,000 NFC-enabled POS terminals capable of accepting mobile and wearable payments across key Olympic venues, the US Olympic Committee’s USA House and Copacabana Megastore.

Away from the Olympics, PSI-Pay and Kerv Wearables have announced that they are partnering up to enable the world’s first contactless payment ring, to be released to the global market with MasterCard. 

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