My 'precious': A month with the Bankwest halo payment ring
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My 'precious': A month with the Bankwest halo payment ring

The character Gollum in JRR Tolkien's epic fantasy series The Lord of the Rings is a hobbit that has been twisted and tortured into a disgusting creature by his sickening lust for a ring created by an evil overlord whose sole motivation is to spread death and destruction across the world.

In other news, I recently purchased a Bankwest halo payment ring.

The one ring to rule them all. The Bankwest halo payment ring is the latest step in the march toward a cashless society.

The one ring to rule them all. The Bankwest halo payment ring is the latest step in the march toward a cashless society.Credit:Hamish Hastie

It was my love of gadgets that led me to take the plunge and of all the new 'fin-tech' we hear of, a ring containing an RFID chip that can be used at paypass-enabled eftpos machines is one of the more tangible products.

The thought of your bank 'putting a ring on it' is a bit odd but it's the next step in the march towards a cashless society that is fast making wallets redundant.

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Most banks allow you to use your phone as a credit and debit card and you can bet your bottom dollar R&D departments and start-ups across the globe are seriously looking at implanted RFID chips that will allow customers to pay for goods and services with a wave of their thumb.

Letting your bank literally get under your skin will take some getting used to by the public however, so for now we are being offered wearable options.

Bankwest was the first in Australia to offer the ring to customers when it launched at the beginning of the year, but Mastercard Australasia president Richard Wormald said several other banks, including some of the big four, were looking at it as well.

The whole process of ordering my halo ring was simple enough, you can either order a sizing kit first or if you know your size you can go right ahead and order it.

There are two colours available, onyx and white. I ordered the ring in onyx, which was a mistake because, according to my friends and family, it doesn't suit my skin tone.

Fashion faux pas aside the ring itself, which is ceramic, is sturdy, understated and doesn't need to be charged or require any app to operate it.

I've been wearing mine for about a month now and can say while right now it's a gimmick, it, or something like it, will soon become the norm.

Day to day use is easy enough. You bunch your hand into a fist and 'knock' on the eftpos machine to pay.

Some businesses have seen the rings before so the cashier isn't as weirded out by a person standing with their arm and fist pointing toward the eftpos machine.

Many haven't though, which has led to plenty of awkward moments. When I ordered some drinks at a bar recently there were a few seconds of curious stares at each other after the bar staff told me the price and I just stood there with my arm out.

They weren't sure whether I was going to dump a whole bunch of change on the bar or whether I was having an aneurysm.

On the security side the ring won't be any more or less useful to criminals than a pay pass-enabled credit card.

Perhaps criminals may be more brazen in their attempts to steal a ring than they would be stealing a card hidden away in a wallet, but this may be balanced in that your payment device is constantly on your person.

Some might shudder at the thought of 'taking that next step' with their bank; some might like the convenience.

I've been wearing my ring long enough I'm beginning to feel a deep connection to it.

The ring loves me and I love the ring.

I swear to serve the master of the precious.

Hamish Hastie is a Fairfax Media business reporter writing from the WAtoday offices in Perth. He was raised in Armadale in Perth's south east and covered the area for four years at the Examiner Newspaper before a stretch writing for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA's business magazines.

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