Owning a Surface Pro Duo ignited my love again for my TicWatch, the lack of NFC on that phone was a problem, the smart watch solved it.
It also ignited the nerd synapse of my brain wondering about other ways to make payments.. this lead me to the NFC Payment Ring.
There are a few players in this game, the one which seemed to be the leader in the UK was the McLear.
So I ordered one..
So what did I get?
I ordered the Black ring which turned up about a week after ording it
Its a shiny, plain black ring, I ordered a size too big, however my sausage fingers provided an alternative didgit to use the ring on.
Whats so special about this?
Whats special about this ring is you can use it at payment terminals to make payments for things. It doesn't need to be attached to a phone to do this, it doesn't need charging to do this.
You simply make a fist, tap the payment termina, the oyster card reader on the underground or the NFC payment device and the ring makes a payment.
Its literally as simple as that to use.
How do you get it linked to a card?
The ring uses the Ringpay App (from MClear) which activates the ring using an activation code on the packaging. You link a debit card to the App, and use it to charge the ring.
Charging the ring assigns a nominal amount between £5 and £200 as a "bank" of cash the ring can draw funds from.
The ring doesn't pull funds from your card directly, it pulls funds from the ring pay app, which as I've just said above, has funds assigned to it.
You can freeze the ring, remove the funds back into your account should you lose the ring.
The idea here I guess is if you lose the ring its easy for it to not be a payment device, and become "just a ring again"
Through the app you can set up an auto topup, or manually top up funds.
The App can have up to 4 rings associated with it.
So what's it like in reality?
I've had mine for a cuple of weeks and have to say its pretty cool. I've mainly been using it to pay for my London Underground usage, and there is something (in my head at least) very "Jedi like" about waving your had over the payment terminal at the barrier to get in and out of the underground. No card, no phone, just a hand wave.
I've used it in a few coffee shops and it does what you would expect. It pays for things.
It doesn't really get much more simple than this, theres no interface, no charging, a basic app and it just works.. Theres nothing to learn, very little to setup, and suddenly payment is just a hand wave away..