Visa Introduces NFC-Enabled Payment Ring for Rio 2016 Olympic Games  


Visa NFC Ring Rio Olympics 2016

As the exclusive payment provider at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Visa just introduced the first-ever wearable payment ring.

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 the brand’s “values of acceptance, partnership and innovation,” according to a press release. To make a purchase, they simply tap the ring at any NFC-capable payment terminal.

“Visa’s first payment ring puts smart payment technology right on the hands of our athletes for convenient and easy payments,” said Jim McCarthy, EVP innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa, in the press release. “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.”

The ring is powered by the patented NFC Ring design of McLear & Co. that includes a secure microchip made by Gemalto with an embedded NFC-enabled antenna. It does not require a battery or recharging and is water resistant to a depth of 50 meters.

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

In addition to the ring, athletes and fans can use their Visa accounts leading up to and at the Rio Games, “using various new form factors,” Visa noted. “From booking and planning their trip using Visa Checkout or making purchases at the games on their mobile phone, both experiences are first-time offerings for Rio 2016.”

Visa also recently demoed an advanced prototype of Visa Token Service, an integrated set of tokenization tools for vendors: token management, Visa Token Vault and Visa Risk Manager.

“What better way to express your wealth than to literally wear your credit card around and use it to buy more things to wear and adorn your life?” notes The Verge. “Visa would very much like it if you did that.”

Visa continues to innovate as the payments industry iterates from plastic to digital.