Smart Rings to Offer Contactless Payments

Image: EVERING

Visa is teaming with Japanese health and beauty company MTG Co. to offer a smart ring for touchless payments.

What it is: The “EVERING” ring is a digital wallet and key, letting people lock their door or check out at the store. The ring is waterproof, doesn’t require charging, and links with the wearer’s credit card and smartphone. Of note, it’s not an activity/health tracker

The big picture: The pandemic accelerated interest in wearable technology and touchless payments.

  • By 2024, mobile wallets will account for one-third of all point-of-sale transactions globally.
  • Wearable devices sales are expected to reach $81.5B in 2021, an 18.1% increase from $69B in 2020.

On the payments front, palm scans and facial recognition allow users to check out on the go.

Meanwhile, wearable makers like Apple have taken aim at this trend. Beyond payments, the company is transforming its digital wallet into a personal passport, complete with driver’s licenses and house keys.

And last year, smart ring maker Motiv was acquired by Proxy, a company working on digital identities, in an effort to alter the way we interface with the physical world.

What to watch for: As we pointed out in our report on smart ring maker Oura, the company seems poised to enter payments.

In May, Oura added $100M in Series C funding. Square, a financial services company, is an Oura investor. So is the company’s chief executive Jack Dorsey (who also presides over Twitter). Plus, Square’s hardware lead, Jesse Dorogusker, sits on Oura’s board.

To that end, on the Fitt Insider podcast, Oura CEO Harpreet Singh Rai said the relationship with Square is “amazing” and Dorogusker has been “tremendously helpful,” adding:

“I do think there are lots of interesting things we can do with payments… so there could be something there in the future.”

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