Contactless payments is supposed to make the consumer path to purchase seamless. The only problem is: Can that be done with clunky phones as the device everything pivots around?
Kerv, a startup that came out of London’s Fintech Innovation Lab, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of what the company is calling “the world’s first contactless payment ring.” Touted as enabling consumers to leave their phones, wallets, credit cards and other payment forms behind, Kerv and its founder Philip Campbell think they might have found the sweet spot between affordable consumer electronics and streamlined mobile payments methods.
“Currently, wearable payment devices are either eye-wateringly expensive or thoroughly unattractive,” Campbell said in a statement. “But the biggest issue I have is that they’re all worn on the wrist, which has to be placed flat against the contactless reader in a way that feels extremely unnatural and awkward. With a creative background — plus eight years’ experience in payments — I felt we could do better. So we did, designing Kerv to be the most ergonomic, natural and convenient contactless payment method possible.”
The ring works through NFC to allow customers to pay with a simple tap of the knuckle with more than 38 million merchants globally. Customers also don’t need to charge or pair the waterproof and scratchproof ring with their smartphone or other devices. The startup claimed that users would be able to use the ring to pay mass transit fares on London’s trains and buses, and the growing breadth of Bluetooth or WiFi-connected home locks and lights means Kerv might one day be able to control an entire house’s worth of electronics.
Kerv’s Kickstarter campaign has until Oct. 26 to reach about $117,000 in donations to receive funding, but only a few hours in on Friday (Sept. 25), almost 200 backers had pledged a little under $14,000.
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