Visa Introduces Wearable Payment Rings for 2016 Rio Olympics

visa nfc payment rings

Visa, the exclusive payment provider of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is putting payment rings on the hands of all Team Visa athletes in Rio. The innovative wearable payment ring is the first of its kind—NFC-enabled—allowing Team Visa athletes to make purchases backed by a Visa account with a simple tap of their ring at any NFC-capable payment terminal.

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.

Team Visa athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin is one in a group of 45 Olympic hopefuls from around the world who embody Visa’s values of acceptance, partnership and innovation. Missy will be able to go directly from the pool to making payments since the payment ring is water resistant to a depth of 50 meters—just one of the many key features that make a unique smart payment technology experience.

“As an Olympian, rings have a special meaning to me,” said Missy. “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.”

The advanced prototype version of the Visa payment ring, which uses token technology provided through Visa Token Service, was demonstrated on June 2, 2016 at a New York City event. 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.

Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa Inc. said, “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.”

New technology advances from Visa and its partners are bringing consumers a simple and more secure purchasing experience as the payments industry increasingly shifts from plastic to digital. Leading up to the Rio Games athletes and fans will be able to use their Visa accounts for booking and planning their trip using Visa Checkout. Once there they can make purchases at the games on their mobile phone. The various new payment form factors and first-time offerings for Rio 2016 will enable athletes and fans to swipe, tap, dip or click to pay during their Olympic experience.

In Rio, Visa will implement approximately 4,000 NFC-enabled POS terminals capable of accepting mobile and wearable payments across key Olympic venues.  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. The summer games kick off on August 5th.