(Australian Associated Press)
A ring that can pay for your morning coffee in a tap is set to be launched Australia this year.
Some Bankwest customers – for whom smart watches are too bulky or costly – will be soon able to purchase the Halo ring, Australia’s first device of its type.
It’s one of the latest innovations in consumer wearable payment technology that is linked to your bank account and used just like a tap and go debit card.
The ring is waterproof up to 50 metres and doesn’t need to be charged or an app to operate.
Mastercard Australasia president Richard Wormald said several other companies are looking at offering payment enabled rings, including some of the big four banks.
BankWest is owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Mr Wormald predicted wearable payment devices would be a strong trend in Australia, as well as payment experiences becoming more and more frictionless.
“Australia is actually one of the most advanced markets in terms of contactless penetration,” he said.
“”You will see many devices today whether it’s a watch, whether it’s a ring, whether it’s jewellery become payment enabled, so I think that is one of the themes that you are going to see in this market.”
Mastercard launched a contactless payment system in partnership with the NSW government on the Manly ferry service last July, and in the first month of operation customers from more than 30 countries used the service.
“It makes it really easy for tourists visiting Australia to get around the city and I think over this year we will see that expand to other states,” Mr Wormald said.
QR (or Quick Response) codes are also tipped to become more popular in Australia.
The codes are generated using an app on a merchant’s phone and a consumer then launches a code scanner app in their mobile phone to pay, without the need for an eftpos terminal.
Mastercard international president Ann Cairns said QR payment was prevalent in China and is now rolling out across the world.
“We don’t want to tell consumers how to pay, we want to give as broad an opportunity for consumers to pay in the way that they want,” she said.
She said she was surprised at how prevalent it was for Australian businesses to add a surcharge when customers were paying by card instead of cash.
“People really have to think about consumers and consumer experience and design things that are good for the general public, and I don’t think that surcharging is one of those things.”