The Unexpected Convenience of Smart Ring Payments in Everyday Life

How we pay for our daily goods and services has changed drastically since the introduction of smart technology. We haven’t been forced to carry cash for decades now, but it has since become possible to simply tap a smartphone or, more recently, a smartwatch against a card machine to make payments rather than fumble with a wallet full of cards.

The smart ring is one of the latest innovations in smart technology, and it’s quickly gaining popularity. Smart rings can do many of the same things a smartwatch can do, but can you make payments with a smart ring?

A customer making a contactless payment using a smart ring

Key Takeaways

  • Most smart rings with NFC technology can make payments.
  • Ensure your smart ring is linked to financial service providers like Visa and MasterCard.
  • Smart rings that support payments either let you add your card details in their smartphone apps or provide prepaid payment options.

Making Payments with a Smart Ring

The technology required to pay with a smart ring is simple and has been around for a long time. However, approval from financial service providers is also a necessity.

Technological Requirements

The ability to pay for goods and services without cash or a card is called “contactless payments.” This is made possible through a technology called Near-Field Communication (NFC).

Without going into too much detail, devices that support NFC contain tiny NFC chips (also called “tags” or “stickers”). These chips are enabled by their host devices or a reading device and then transmit signals to a receiver. These signals can contain anything like payment information, login credentials, or even small files.

It’s the same technology you use when you tap your bank card against a card machine or use a contactless access card to open a door or gate. We’ve had them in our smartphones for many years, which is how we can use services like Google Pay and Apple Pay. Smartwatches also use NFC to make contactless payments.

Since NFC tags are so small (as little as 5mm square), they conveniently fit into the tiny size of a smart ring, and with proper software, this allows NFC-enabled smart rings to make contactless payments.

Authorization from Payment Providers

Almost every smart ring is NFC-enabled, but that doesn’t mean they can all make payments. Though you can usually use your smart ring’s app to configure the NFC tag to perform certain contactless functions, paying isn’t always one of the available options.

The reason is that financial service providers like Visa or MasterCard must approve those payment capabilities. The service providers ensure that all legal and security requirements are met by the rings’ manufacturers.

Several smart rings support payments, the most popular of which is probably McLEAR. Some rings will let you add your card details in their apps, after which you can make payments using your ring, similar to how you would use Apple Pay with your Apple Watch.

Other rings don’t have that functionality. Instead, they let you prepay money into a kind of holding account linked to your smart ring. Whenever you use the ring to make a payment (often called “knocking”), money is deducted from that account instead of your card.

If you have a smart ring that only supports the latter, be sure to check the fees and requirements carefully since some manufacturers charge pretty hefty fees for each transaction.

Conclusion

Paying for goods and services with a smart ring is entirely possible (and easy) using NFC technology. Before you buy a smart ring, check its features, ensure that NFC is enabled, and find out how payments work. Not all smart rings support payments in the same way. Do your research and read reviews. It’s worth it since smart rings are quickly revolutionizing how we make payments.

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