KERV - first impressions


I’d looked at Kerv (a contactless payment ring) a few months ago, but decided to take the plunge recently and get one, which arrived today.

For those who don’t know about Kerv, it’s a ring that uses the same technology as contactless cards, so no charging, needed. It is effectively a pre-paid Mastercard but in a ring, so you top it up via debit/credit card or bank transfer, and then use it for contactless payments up to £30 per transaction.

I’ve linked it to my Starling account and made the initial topup, which went without a hitch. I’ve yet to try it out with a payment but I’ll use it over the next few days and provide an update on the experience. I will of course lose the individual transaction data for anything I spend using Kerv, but who know, perhaps Kerv will integrate with Starling at some point?


I’ve had Kerv for a while. I mostly use it on TfL, where it’s nice to not have to get anything out of my pocket when I get on/off the tube/bus.

I don’t use it much beyond that, mostly because it’s awkward trying to get somebody to let me just punch their card reader to pay.

Also, their website is horrendous. If you happen to be on Android, I made an app for checking balance/transactions, which is pretty basic but far more usable than the Kerv site.


TfL will be my main use for it, as I travel into London frequently for work. I will no doubt try it out in shops as well, but in deepest darkest Wiltshire Apple/Android Pay is still seen as a bit of a novelty, so Kerv will seem like magic to some of the locals!

(I’m Wiltshire born and bred so I’m allowed to take the p*ss)


The only annoying thing about using it with TfL is that Kerv don’t give you the card number of the contactless chip in the ring, so you can’t add it to your TfL account to see journey history :frowning:


Hmmm, that could be a bit of a drawback for claiming expenses.

Edit: I’ve checked the Kerv site and under the devices menu there is an option to display a secure image of your card - this give you the number, expiry date and CVV.

I’ve added this as a contactless card on the TfL site, and it’s accepted it and says it’s ready for travel. Won’t be able to test it until my next trip to London in the New Year though.


Yep, but that’s the number for the ‘virtual mastercard’, which for some reason is distinct from the contactless chip in your ring. I also added the virtual card to my TfL account, but journeys on the Kerv ring don’t show up.

I contacted Kerv when I first got the ring to ask about this. They told me that they were ‘working on this functionality’ (where ‘this functionality’ means ‘letting me see the whole ID number without the ***s’), and that it would be available in a few weeks. That was several months ago, so I’m not holding my breath.


I like the look of this… But I’m just wondering… Do you absolutely HAVE to do the fist for it to work? What happens if you just place your ring near a reader with your palm open? Would it not work? Have any of you tried?

I don’t know why, but I much prefer the idea of a casual wafting hand than the bumping-fists-cos-we’re-cool approach. :thinking::thinking:


I haven’t had a chance to use it much over the Christmas break, but have had mixed results the few times I have tried it. On the first use at a self-checkout in Asda it worked fine first time, but didn’t work at all at a self-checkout in Sainsburys, and I had to use a card. The last time I used it, at a till in Co-op, it needed to be presented twice for it to work.

@ItsPaul, I haven’t tried anything besides a fist so far, but I’m guessing it’s something to do with the angle of the ring in relation to the reader. I’ll try next time I get a chance.

Another downside with the ring is that you only get basic transaction data - my two successful supermarket purchases simply show as ‘Transaction for device’, with no other data. I did message Kerv about possible integration with Starling, and got a reply back saying it is not in their immediate plans :frowning:

Kerv has the potential to be really useful, but it needs a decent app and richer transaction data as a minimum. Slightly underwhelmed at present.


That’s because you’re viewing the transactions for the virtual mastercard. If you view the transactions for the actual device (there’s a dropdown box on the page to choose device), you’ll see more detail about the transactions, although it’s still nothing like Starling.

Why they have this separation is beyond me - it makes things more confusing, and it is this separation that makes it impossible to view TfL journey history for the ring.