Did you know that Visa will be launching the next generation of NFC-enabled wearable payment technology at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro? For the most part, 3 payment wearables will be making their debut in Rio next month: a special Olympians' ring; the Pulseira Bradesco wristband; and the Swatch Bellamy watch.
Before you start clicking away with the intention of getting a payment ring to add on to your trove of cool accessories, know that the payment rings are only for Visa's sponsored team of Olympic athletes.
The Pulseira Bradesco is a payment wristband released by Visa and the Brazilian bank Bradesco, so it's only available to Bradesco account holders. But all attendees, Olympians or not, can purchase the Swatch Bellamy watch.
The Swatch Bellamy is already available in China and the land of watches, Switzerland, but there's no word yet on when it will be released in the United States.
The Olympic rings link directly to the wearer's card, and are protected by token technology to keep the wearer's account information secure. The Swatch Bellamy is linked to a prepaid Visa card, so you have to load it before use, while the Pulseira Bradesco wristband links to wearers' Bradesco accounts.
Visa is the official payment sponsor of Rio 2016, and part of its job is to set up 4,000 NFC payment terminals so Olympians, Brazilians and attendees can make use of its new lineup of wearable payment accessories.
But there is one thing about Visa's watches, rings and wristbands that isn't mentioned in Visa's press release - they're hardly noticeable.
The ceramic payment rings for Visa's team of Olympic athletes are smooth and featureless, and the Pulseira Bradesco looks like any other inexpensive rubber wristband you'd find at a music festival or sports event.
Swatch, famous for its plastic watches, definitely took a step back with the design of its NFC-enabled payment watch. The Bellamy looks not as fancy as it could have been, in fact, it looks like it could have come out of a cereal box.
And there's probably a very good reason for that.
Even with the impressive lineup of new payment wearables, there are 2 groups in Rio that can't get paid: police and teachers. Brazil's economic crisis and the cost of hosting the Olympics have bankrupted Rio's local government, which can no longer afford to pay public service employees and is hence, shutting down public services.
Rio's schools have been closed for the last 2 months because the local government has run out of money, while the police and teachers' unions are on strike.
In short, there are fewer cops and more roaming teens on Rio's streets lately. It's hardly surprising that Rio's crime rate has skyrocketed in the weeks leading up to the Olympics.
Street crime in Rio is going from bad to worse, and carrying around wallets, cards and flashy accessories is certainly a bad move for tourists, locals and athletes alike.
Athletes are a group which Rio's crooks particularly target, so that may explain the unassuming design of Visa's payment rings meant for the athletes.
Just so you're aware, a runner-up for Brazil's Olympic marksmanship team was shot during a carjacking attempt in June, a tragedy which followed the armed mugging of the Spanish sailing team in May.
Like what 4-time American gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin said, it's nice not having to carry a wallet or card around after a competition, particularly during one of the worst crime waves in Rio's recent history.