Wearables: What’s the future of watches, rings & bracelets in payments?

The pandemic's emphasis on contactless payments left a legacy of renewed interest in wearable payment devices that people used to see as novelties. New York's innovative Quontic Bank has launched a Pay Ring that may indicate how quickly wearables will take off.

Quontic Bank is a small New York City digital-first institution that likes to innovate. In fact, its tagline is “The Adaptive Digital Bank” and it was a crypto pioneer in offering Bitcoin rewards on its checking accounts. Its latest move is the introduction of what’s believed to be America’s first-ever payment ring, a piece of functional jewelry that serves as a wearable debit card. It can be used anywhere that tap and pay service is available.

Quontic introduced its “Pay Ring” in April 2022. At present the rings are available as simple black bands in a range of sizes that are fitted to customers who opt into the new service.

Steven Schnall, CEO and Founder of Quontic, explains that one wrinkle in offering a debit payment ring is that fingers come in multiple sizes so an inventory of them — 20 in all — must be maintained, with extras for the most common ones. Adding another color or two would double or triple the necessary inventory, so for now it’s basic black for everyone. (The inside of the ring is inscribed with the bank’s Q logo, the Mastercard logo, and the logo of the U.K. manufacturer, McLear.)

“We want to see what kind of consumer adoption and excitement we can build around the product before we go all in on inventory,” says Schnall. “There’s no data around customer adoption of this here because this is the first time it’s being tried in the U.S. It’s part of our effort to differentiate from other banks, especially among digital ones where it’s becoming more and more crowded.”


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