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Forget Your Phone—You Can Now Pay For Stuff With Smart Jewelry

Ringly announces a partnership with MasterCard that’s more chic than paying with a phone or—ugh—cash.

If pulling out your wallet or tapping your phone on a reader to pay for your daily latte is just too much, you’re about to have another option (almost literally) at your fingertips. Today, the smart jewelry company Ringly announces a partnership with MasterCard that will allow you to pay for items with the tap of a ring.

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Ringly founder and CEO Christina d’Avignon says that the partnership is not exclusive, and the company is actively working with other vendors to make it easy for customers to pay for their purchases using other credit cards as well. It will work much like other mobile payment systems: Users will upload their credit cards to their Ringly app, which will allow them to to pay by tapping their ring on a smart payment terminal. “People will be able to use their rings anywhere that they can currently pay with Apple Pay or with a chip card,” d’Avignon says. “This is where payment infrastructure is going. People will soon not have to carry their credit cards around at all.”

The rings, which have been sold at Ringly.com and other online retailers since January 2015, pair with phones and are controlled using an iPhone or Android app. (They cost between $195 and $260.) Users can set their ring to one of four different vibration patterns and five different colors when a phone call, email, message or app notification comes through. The idea is to cut through the information overload by selecting particular alerts. According to a study that Ringly recently conducted, users saw a 40% reduction in the volume of notifications.

The jewelry now integrates with over 80 apps, including shopping apps like Etsy, Ebay, or Poshmark. This means that an Ebay seller, for example, can set their Ringly to buzz every time a sale is made. If you want to reduce noise even further, you can set up a deep filter so that only calls or messages from certain people are notified. Parents might turn off all notifications except those from their children or babysitter, for instance.

With this new MasterCard partnership, Ringly is keen to go beyond notification filtering to allowing users to simplify the number of items they carry around with them at any given time. “As women, we have these big purses with so many items in them, while men have everything in one pocket,” d’Avignon says. “Imagine if all of these items were consolidated into your jewelry. We’re looking into wallets, keys, and Metrocards. The first step for us is payments.”

Ringly’s engineers have focused on miniaturizing technology so that all components can fit on the surface of a small stone. “The idea was to be able to embed this tech into a lot of different designs,” d’Avignon says. “Our goal was to be able to work with different artists and designers, to give them the ability to create without a lot of restrictions.”

Today, Ringly also launches a capsule collection called Libra that includes four new styles and is expanding its size range to include US sizes five and nine in addition to the existing six, seven, and eight. The new styles will be available for purchase at ringly.com and will start at $195.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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