Introduction to Contactless Payment Rings: Convenient Way to Pay

There are countless ways to pay for everyday items these days. Just a few years ago, you’d have been laughed at for trying to tap your phone on a card terminal, let alone your smart watch to pay for something. But today, in some part thanks to Covid, paying with cash has become arguably the most unusual way to pay for things. At least that was until I got my payment ring. Yep. I pay for items by fist bumping card machines. I’ve been doing it for a few months, so here’s everything I’ve learned so far.

What are Payment Rings?

Payment rings are a surprisingly logical evolution when it comes to ways to pay for items. The growth in contactless payments and near field technology (NFC) has left us as this point. The technology that makes your contactless bank card tapable can be moved into other items too, like a ring.

Rings are great because you wear them and kind of forget they’re there until you need them. I’ve been engaged for years and got in trouble for saying a payments ring is great because “it’s a wedding ring that would actually be of some use”. Don’t make that mistake that I made!

But simply put, payments rings are just another piece of jewellery with the added functionality of being able to act just like that contactless payment card. Let’s dive a little deeper into how they work.

How do Payment Rings Work?

There are quite a few parts to making a payments ring work. You’ll find many companies on the market offering similar ideas including the McLear RingPay. But the one I got sent over for testing came from a German company called PagoPace. It’s a pretty nice looking ring made from ceramic materials, though the company has more recently launched silver and gold rings too.

Day one trying on my PagoPace NFC payment ring

The internal tech of the ring is naturally fairly protected, but just imagine it’s pretty much like someone melted down your contactless bank card and turned it into a ring; at least in terms of similar technology connecting your ring to the card machine you’re trying to pay on. Just like your bank card, you don’t need to charge the ring because all it’s doing is confirming card numbers to link your details to the transaction. Because the internal tech is quite simple, there are no added bells and whistles here. It’s just a payment ring. No heart-rate monitoring or fitness tracking.

Once the contactless transaction is complete, the payment is processed. This is where Curve comes in. Curve is another company completely unrelated to PagoPace. They play a significant role in how this particular payment ring works. So much so, I’ll give them some more focus.


I’ve had a Curve Card in my wallet for a considerable amount of time. I love it because I tend to have a couple of different banks accounts and, as a result, debit or credit cards. Curve lets me add all these cards to a single account and, quite conveniently, a single Curve Card. Then, using the Curve App, I can choose which of my many debit or credit cards is linked to my Curve Card. When I tap my Curve Card, I’m effectively tapping the card that’s linked to it. 4 or 5 cards in my wallet have now become just one.

PagoPaco uses Curve for its card management. My PagoPace ring is linked to my Curve Card. So when I tap my ring, I’m tapping my Curve Card. Even if you’re still just considering a payments ring, I highly recommend Curve. I’m eternally shocked more people aren’t using it.

If you’re following along with this so far, you now see why this is handy. This means my ring can effectively be any of my cards for payments by the flick of a switch in the Curve App. It’s also very good news that you don’t have to worry about an Irish bank officially supporting payments rings themselves. We all know Irish banks are pretty slow when it comes to adopting new ideas. Using Curve completely sidesteps that issue.

Are Payment Rings Secure?

I’ll be talking a bit about my experience actually using a payment ring in stores below, but this question is what I’ve been asked by most people. My answer is simple. Payment rings are as secure as a bank card and arguably more secure depending on your bank. If I was to lose my ring, I’d just have to open my Curve App and block the card. I get notifications every time I tap my ring for a payment, so it’s unlikely anything would get by me in that sense. By comparison, if you were to tap a card from most traditional Irish banks, you’ll get no notification at all.

Some people asked me if others could just walk up behind me and tap a card machine off my hand. I believe this to be a very unlikely scenario for a multitude of reasons, but payment rings like the PagoPace have a feature to reduce this likelihood even further. When paying, you have to place your fist over the card machine in a specific position and angle in order to pay. So your hand down by your side won’t work.

Payment rings also unlock a new way of being out an about. If you want to go for a run, you can leave your wallet at home and still pay for a coffee on the way home with your ring. So I could make a case that you’re less likely to lose your wallet on a run and in turn, these contactless payment rings offer some added security by their very design.

As with anything, there are pros and cons in terms of the security at play here, but ultimately, I would say there’s very little different in a security sense between payment rings and payment cards, at least in terms of negatives. Here in Ireland, the ring is also limited to €50 transactions.

But the part of this introduction and review that I’m most looking forward to is talking about the experience I’ve had to date with my payment ring; because it’s been hilarious.

My Experience With a Contactless Payment Ring

First of all, paying with a ring took some getting used to. Because of that secure position the ring needs to be in, finding the sweet spot on a card machine can be tricky at first. Remember as well, not all card machines are the same. If you’re paying for parking, the card payment point might be flat on the machine. Some petrol stations have them on the side of tills. However, over time I got used to nearly every card machine and rarely have a miss now. But when it doesn’t work, however rare it is, you look very silly and have to explain what you’re trying to do.

However silly that might make you look, it’s worth it for the reaction you get with the card machine processes payment after you’ll hovered your fist over the terminal. From Dunnes Stores on Georges street to the bars and cafes in Tokyo, I’d say 80% of people have reacted with astonishment as I use my payments ring. People are first wondering what the hell you’re doing as you reach in over the fresh pints you’ve ordered and hover your fist over the card machine. But that astonishment quickly turns too utter shock when they hear the beep that follows a successful transaction. Nearly every time ends up with a reasonably long conversation about the ring, how it works and PagoPace itself (hi Steffen if you’re reading this).

It’s been utterly enjoyable in the most part. I did have one flower vendor convinced I had scammed her by making the card machine beep through witchcraft, but one quick check later and I was on my way. Beyond the odd person thinking I’m ripping them off, the ceramic does need some care. My ring cracked slightly and I don’t recall dropping it. I’m not sure when this happened, which means I didn’t notice, which means it didn’t take a massive knock for the ring to be damaged. Not too surprising when you hear “ceramic” but something I have to include.

PagoPace Payment Ring: The Verdict

I love my payments ring. I love the reactions and wonder that follows when I pay with a ring. But it’s not all good.

A McLear RingPay will set you back about €90. The PagoPace even more pricey, starting at €120. That’s a sizeable payment for something your phone, wallet and maybe even your watch can already handle. I was also disappointed to find it cracked with no idea how that had happened.

If you were in the market for a nice looking ring or even, joking aside, wanted a more functional wedding ring, the price quickly shifts into a more favourable context. Also, if you’re like me, you might just treat yourself to the “extra” from time to time.

Beyond the pricing of it, I do love the PagoPace payment ring. It’s just very convenient. In a few years time I believe these things will be a lot more popular. Maybe banks will start to include them with credit cards as a bonus. PagoPace also does a version of the ring which supports Tesla keycards. As the world around us evolves to include more swipe access and contactless payments, added use cases for a ring capable of this NFC uses will also grow. It’s an exciting space.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads
contactless-payment-ringThe ceramic rings look amazing, but I do have to dock some marks for the fact mine mysteriously cracked. It does exactly what it sets out to do; be a payments ring. However, countless people asked me if it was also a fitness tracker, leaving me wondering if maybe that should be worked in too? I personally think this should score 5/5 for coolness but I can't ignore the handful of people who compared it to Google Glass levels of uncoolness. And finally, it's unfortunately pricey which will make this a very considered purchase.