Space & Innovation

Olympic Athletes Will Sport Payment Rings

Just wave a hand to pay.

When you think "Olympic rings," the first thing that comes to mind might be the logo or perhaps the gymnastic apparatus that makes the Iron Cross a spectator favorite.

But this year in Rio, an Olympic ring will be a way for athletes to pay for goods and services, reports Engadget.

The first 45 athletes to receive rings are those sponsored by Visa. And how handy. Because the payment provider has exclusive rights to the 2016 Summer Games -- it will be the only card accepted at Olympic venues.

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(It's unclear what those athletes sponsored by American Express will do.)

The yet unnamed payment ring was developed thanks to discussions between Visa executives and athletes who said that wallets and other wearables tended to get in the way during the frequent costume changes.

According to Engadget, decathlete Ashton Eaton told Visa he wanted a device he could put on and never think about again, until it came time to pay, of course.

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The water-resistant ring was born. Talk about convenient. Just make a purchase by waving a hand over the payment terminal.

The ring never needs to be charged, either. It gets a little oomph of wireless power from the terminal every time a person makes a charge. I suppose if one never makes a purchase, then then ring could go dead.

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If the ring becomes lost, it can be deactivated from the corresponding smartphone app.

No personal or identifying information such as name or credit card number is on the ring, either. Instead, a digital encryption method called tokenization replaces sensitive data with digital mumbo-jumbo. That way if it's lost, no one can use it to make purchases.

Hey Visa, wouldn't it great if credit cards worked like that?

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