Contactless Payment Ring a Year In

I’ve been using my K Ring for contactless payments for well over a year now. Here are my thoughts on the experience.

Overall, I’m very happy with it and use it all the time. It’s super convenient and often becomes a talking point with the cashier, if they’re paying attention (yet another reason to avoid the automated checkouts).

It’s easier than getting your wallet out and you don’t need to worry about a flat battery in a smartwatch or smartphone. It’s passive so doesn’t need charging and also cheaper than a smart payment device, although obviously more expensive than the “free” card that comes from your bank.

However, one annoyance is that it is a pre-paid account and the auto top-up runs on an overnight batch at 0600. If you deplete your balance then you can’t use it until the next day (without intervention) and you may not realise you are low on credit until a payment fails because it is larger than your balance.

Overnight batch processes are a problem with legacy financial services but modern challengers are building better real-time systems. I’d expect this lag from a high street bank but not from a progressive fintech startup. I suspect they are limited by the Mastercard system they have built on top of.

Another problem is that I would like to use it abroad but they charge a 3% fee and I have free alternatives that use the same Mastercard FX rate. They also charge an annual maintenance fee and for SMS notifications (which you can mostly turn off). If the ring could be linked directly to an account with a bank like Starling or Monzo (as is already the case for ABN AMRO) then all these problems could be solved!

The K Ring costs just under £100 but you can use the discount code K-LADQKX at to get 15% off. You could easily pay this amount for dumb metal jewellery, so I think this is pretty good value for a smart-looking ring on it’s own. The extra functionality is an added bonus, even if there are a few backend issues.

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