McLear RingPay: The One Ring To Pay Them All?

With cash becoming a thing of the past, new ways to make payments are hitting the market. Most people carry a smartphone which, with the advent of Google Pay and Apple Pay, can double as a form of payment, but what if you’ve got your hands full, or have committed that cardinal sin of leaving your phone at home? That’s where the McLear RingPay comes in.

McLear has introduced its alternative which you can simply slip on and forget. Its ceramic smart ring, dubbed RingPay, allows the wearer to make contactless payments with ease, thanks to the tiny NFC chip embedded in it, without needing any other physical item – no phone or card is required at the point of use.

RingPay works in exactly the same way as any other contactless device or card – just hold the ring over the contactless terminal and the device will register the payment. And that’s it. 

It doesn’t need to be charged, unlike your phone, and carrying it couldn’t be easier, so those summer shorts without pockets are no longer a problem.

McLear RingPay
McLear RingPay: Form and Function

The ring itself is simple and stylish. The plain ceramic band is available in black or white and is both waterproof and scratch-resistant, so can be worn as you might any other piece of jewellery.

The black version has a wonderful metallic sheen that closely resembles hematite, while the white version is a little more distinctive with a visual appeal that Apple would be proud of. Neither has any outward marking to suggest it is anything other than a fashion piece.

McLear RingPay options
McLear RingPay: Setting Up

While RingPay is easy to use, it does require some setting up which is perhaps less simple – and didn’t go entirely according to plan during our testing.

It requires an account that you need to top up in the RingPay app, available on Android or Apple devices. Unfortunately, the app continually shut down while trying to upload identification and, when things finally worked, the app rejected the ID. Happily, the support team were exemplary and had the ID confirmed manually within minutes. If the system works as planned, it’ll be as smooth as silk, and it’s probably no bad thing that there are human checks – it’s protecting your money, after all.

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Once in, you can load the ring with cash, but then you run the risk of having a transaction declined if your balance is low. An auto top-up feature can keep the account replenished to your specified level, assuming you turn that facility on. Using this method means you have some peace of mind that you’ll not get to the point of payment and be stuck without funds and then have to access the app in a hurry.

McLear RingPay coffee
McLear RingPay: Facilities and Fees

After the account is set up and verified, the rest really is easy. Each time RingPay is presented for contactless payment, a reassuring ping from the app lets you know that the payment has been successful – assuming you’ve got your phone with you. All transactions are recorded, so you can keep a track of your spending, and they can be exported as a PDF file if you need proof of purchase, or to claim an item as a business expense. 

There are no fees for using RingPay in the UK but if you do use it when travelling abroad there is a 3% transaction fee. This is comparable to most debit or credit cards, however, so not exceptional. If you’ve loaded some cash onto your account, but decide you no longer wish to use RingPay, there is a charge of £1.50 to get your money back, so at that point, you might as well just use up what’s left on there instead.

You can also link up to four rings to one account if you wish. If you wanted to change between the black and white rings, depending on your outfit, you can, or you could send one of your children to the shops with the RingPay, ensuring you won’t lose any cash and giving you the ability to see exactly what they spend via the app.

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Property Problems

The app also allows you to suspend the use of the ring, freezing it should you misplace it. Of course, you can instantly unfreeze it once you’ve found the ring. This feature is similar to that used in most banking apps, but gives valuable peace of mind.

There are a few other features available via a monthly subscription service, RingPay+. This additional service offers online discounts, dining deals, ‘money can’t buy’ offers and, crucially, extends the three-year lifespan of the ring by a further year. It’s worth making sure that the benefits RingPay+ offers are right for you before signing up, although there’s currently a free trial period to put it through its paces.

McLear RingPay: The Verdict

The McLear RingPay ring is easy to use and reliable, once you get past those initial set-up issues. If like me, you aren’t one for carrying much when you’re out for a walk or jog then, as long as your funding source is set correctly, it will suit you perfectly.

The limited lifespan of the product – just three years without paying for the RingPay+ upgrade – might put buyers off a little, as you’ll be paying £90 for the privilege of wearing the ring. However, once the payment aspect of the ring has expired, you’re still left with a wearable piece of jewellery thanks to the simple and elegant design.

Is it an essential purchase? No, especially given that we all tend to carry contactless payment options with us already, but RingPay does add a little extra practicality and is, ultimately, a stylish choice. Form trumps function this time – just.