Smart rings could soon replace contactless cards and smartphones as the main method of making touchless payments.
Japanese health and beauty retailer MTG has struck a deal with Visa which will enable wearers of its ‘Evering’ smart ring to pay for items by hovering their hand over a payment terminal.
The Evering is made of synthetic crystal and has a chip hidden inside which enables it to be linked to a customer’s credit card.
Just like a card the ring will never need charging, is totally waterproof and will allow customers to track their spending via a smartphone app.
While the coronavirus pandemic has seen a seismic shift in the usage of contactless payment methods, which accounted for 90 per cent of all card payments in the UK last year, MTG envisages a much wider use of its smart ring.
“We want to make a world in which people can live with a ring,”, MTG’s chairman Yoshihito Ohta said in an interview.
“The business has potential to grow. It’s risky, but I think no other business has bigger potential than this.”
MTG says the ring could replace a user’s wallet and keys, able to open and lock doors, cars and replace cards all together.
Visa has ordered an initial batch of 3000 Everings, which retail for the equivalent of roughly £130.
Other manufacturers are also exploring the idea of smart rings including market leader Oura, which raised $28 million in its latest funding round and enables users to track health metrics, but not pay for goods.
Amazon has also cautiously tipped its toe into the space with its Echo loop device, announced in 2019, and Apple is understood to have issued patents for similar technology.
While the technology is still in the early stages of development, MTG’s Evering marks a significant step forward for devices which could soon be as ubiquitous as smart watches.