Take Home an Olympic Ring of Your Own

You may not be able to take home the gold, silver, or bronze medals that many Olympians were able to, but you can now have one of the same metallic items they wore. That item is an NFC (Near Field Communication) Ring (starting at $49.99)) that can be used for, among other things, making payments via your connected Visa card at millions of contactless cash registers. Apple is on the NFC Consortium, but it has limited the NFC chip in iPhones and the Apple Watch to Apple Pay, for now.

Speaking of the Apple Watch, you can make payments with it, but it is bulkier and more expensive, and needs to be recharged. The NFC Ring doesn't use a battery, so there is no need to worry about that aspect. And it's waterproof, which is important for a ring. Think about washing your hands for example. Also, yesterday I tried to use my iPhone to pay and while the cash register accepted Apple Pay, the store didn't accept American Express, which is the card tied to my Apple Pay account. So having a ring to pay by Visa might have been helpful! The downside is that if you lose it, and someone recognized that it was a Visa payment mechanism, you could have fraudulent charges to deal with. So if that happens, use your phone or the NFC Ring website to invalidate the ring. Remember, unlike Apple Pay, there is no Touch ID fingerprint reader to validate your identity.

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The NFC Ring can also do more things, but you might need an Android phone for that. For example, it can be used to unlock your smartphone, just not an iPhone. If you have a specific kind of door lock, it can open that as well! 

Olympic Ring

Of course, since it's a ring, you would need to order the right size. Zales.com has a printable ring sizing sheet you can print out or you can visit most jewelers to get your finger sized. NFCRing.com offers the same model the Olympians had in white or black, for December delivery, or there are some older models that ship right away. I'm still inclined to keep using my Apple Watch, but if a future iPhone and iOS supports NFC, including the ability to unlock the phone, then an NFC Ring could be a great add on.

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Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.