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Industry veterans seek funding for NFC payments ring

Kerv ring
PROTOTYPE: Kerv aims to put its multi-function NFC payments ring into production in 2016

A team of NFC payments veterans has launched a campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for an NFC ring that can be used to make payments at contactless POS terminals and across the Transport for London network.

The ring can also be used to unlock contactless door locks and security systems. Emergency, medical and contact details can also be shared by tapping the ring with an NFC phone.

Kerv contains an NFC chip that is activated when brought close to a contactless reader. It works in the same way as a contactless card, the company says, reading the encrypted data on the chip and authorising the transaction. Funds are drawn from a prepaid Kerv account and an accompanying mobile app will let users track their spending and activate SMS messages to alert them of their most recent transactions.

A video gives an overview of Kerv:

Kerv is hoping to partner with fashion and jewellery designers to further its design, founder Philip Campbell told NFC World, and will eventually expand into other NFC wearable items that would come equipped with the same functions.

“In terms of design, we’re just doing a black and white version at the minute. We probably won’t do new designs but rather work with fashion and jewellery designers and provide the technology to them — we will stick to doing what we do best, the payment side of thing, and let them focus on the design.”

“We’ve been in the sector for seven or eight years, so we know the bits that are required behind the scenes,” Campbell explained. “Building the accounts, doing all the software and platform side of things has already been done. The ring bodies are being made out in China and the antenna is something that we have designed.”

“Some of our team are former Kalixa members who worked on the payment integration for Moneto in the UK,” Campbell explains. “I was directly involved with my colleague Dean Leybourn in launching and marketing Moneto in the UK and Europe.

“We really wanted to do something else and be in control of it and bring to market a product that the consumer would actually want to use and at the right price point to make it desirable. When we worked on things like Moneto for the iPhone, that was years ahead of anything else like Apple Pay.

“We’ve had some enquiries from banks, we’ve also had enquiries from a gym chain. It would be great to implement Kerv with them so it’s more widely available. Imagine going to your gym and rather than having to pull out a separate card for the lockers, all you have to do is tap your Kerv ring to gain access.

New form factors

“We will bring along some other form factors as well. It won’t just remain with the ring. We realise that, with the ring alone, not everybody will want to wear it and it won’t be appropriate for every occasion. Our goal is to have a range of NFC devices that are completely interchangeable.

“We will also give the customer the option to get a virtual card, so if they want to use the Kerv account to shop online or if you want to do an in-game or in-app purchase, they can. We will also provide traditional plastic cards.”

“The next step after the Kickstarter campaign is to move from prototype to mass production and that’s the bit that will take the time,” Campbell continued. “We expect it will be ready in February next year and we’ve put on the Kickstarter campaign that customers should expect to get the Kerv ring in April.”

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