Cash, Card or Payment Ring?

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If you have ever been to an auto show, you’ve probably seen the exhibit showing the cars of the future – sleek, sci-fi looking vehicles that resemble something out of The Jetsons.

Sooner or later, however, you realize that these same cars have been on display for 20 years, and they never get any closer to actually going into production.

Still, it’s intriguing to consider the possibilities of new technology, even in the payment processing industry. Debit cards are convenient and easy to use, but inserting them into a payment terminal isn’t as much exciting as it used to be. But what if you could pay for your purchases by simply waving your hand over the terminal – no magic words required?

Now you can – or at least you may be able to one day soon, now that Visa has unveiled the payment ring.

You wear it as you would any other ring, but instead of a diamond this piece of jewelry contains a secure microchip and an NFC-enabled antenna. Athletes headed to Rio for the 2016 Olympics will be among the first to give them a try. Thankfully they are also water-resistant, so even the swimmers can pay for their souvenirs without having to carry a wallet.

Of course, those using Apple Pay are already familiar with shopping without cards. But that doesn’t have the same style as a payment ring. To be honest, however, there isn’t much style in the initial ring model, either. The more fashion-forward among us may choose to wait for one that looks less severe and utilitarian. Or until Visa introduces a matching payment bracelet.