A number of wireless smart card issuers is promoting so-called payments tags or key fobs - that's a small wireless device which can be used in place of a wireless payment card or wireless transport card and it's designed so it looks like it should be attached to a key ring. Mastercard PayPass is one example of smart card accompanied with such device. You simply bring such device close to a POS terminal and it completes a payment transaction the same way if it were a wireless payment card.

How do I carry it around?

If I attach it to my key ring then I have to take my entire key ring out of my bag or pocket every time I need to confirm a payment on a POS terminal. The more often I take my key ring out the more it's likely that I get it lost of forgotten somewhere. If I do the same with a transport card equivalent every time I need to enter a bus or metro during a rush hour I risk having my key ring dropped in the middle of the crowd or maybe even on an escalator.

So it looks like attaching such device to a key ring is not very wise. Carrying it standalone isn't very practical too because the device is rather small and hard to find inside a bag or pocket.

How is this thing supposed to be carried such that its holder doesn't risk losing his keys all the time?

  • 1
    Do you have the same trepidation about losing your wallet every time you go to pay? I don't see why this is particularly different, it's just a different object of importance that you need to keep track of. Lots of people keep loyalty/rewards cards on their keychains, so pulling out a set of keys when paying is already quite commonplace. May 17, 2017 at 14:06
  • Get a separate key-ring just for the tags/fobs? If you've only got one fob, you may want to add another fob of some kind just to give it a little weight. Or, if it's flat enough, keep it in your wallet.
    – TripeHound
    May 17, 2017 at 14:07
  • @NuclearWang Losing a wallet means losing money and cards, that's different from losing keys to where you live.
    – sharptooth
    May 17, 2017 at 14:10
  • @sharptooth I understand where you are coming from, one thing is to have money and cards in one place but spreading payment methods across your bag is not convenient. To be honest it seems developers of such devices didn´t think the real world implications of adding accessories to your key chain. I would try fitting it in the change pocket of my wallet May 18, 2017 at 21:32
  • Use a neckchain for all the fob things. Or, use one of those retractable strings that you can clip to your belt. Be a geek!
    – user67695
    May 22, 2017 at 19:27

2 Answers 2


If you regularly wear a wristwatch, I would suggest to wear it(the tag) attached to your watch, as it's the only thing that you'll never need to "pull out" of your pocket. You can otherwise wear it attached to some wrist band, like the rubber ones, with fancy quotes on them.

  1. WristWatch Vs. Fancy WristBands
    But as it is a (unrestricted)payment method, human psychology suggests that you should keep it with something that you treat as valuable(i.e. your wristwatch), to lower the chances of loosing it.

  2. WristWatch Vs. Wallets/Keys
    Its really difficult to loose a wristwatch especially when compared to loosing wallets and keys, which can easily(with higher probability) fall from pockets, when subjected to general physical activities.

Key fobs are really a bad idea when compared to the ease the tags provide. As the former needs to be with other keys or wallets, which makes the whole bundle heavier(especially if it already holds other fobs or cards in case of wallets) and unideal for frequent use, as you pointed out.

Edit : Usually people who commute daily using subway use such tags/fobs for ticket payments, and taking out your wallet in such(similar) places might not be the best idea, with probable robbers scrutinizing your wallet as you pay.


One possibility is a Retractable Key Ring (many, many designs available; an example chosen more-or-less at random below). These consist of a key-ring on the end of a length of cord that is normally retracted and wound around a spring-loaded bobbin inside the main body. To use, you pull the end of the cord (where the key-fob would be attached) out from the body. When finished, the cord will be rewound inside the body.

Depending on the design, the main body can either clip over a belt or the waistband of your trousers, attach to a belt-loop, or be hooked onto part of a handbag.

I have often seen such devices used by bar- and shop-staff to "activate" a till before entering an order.

Retractable key-rings

Image from yarss website following image search.

  • Definitely a case of function over form ;)
    – Midas
    Aug 21, 2017 at 10:13

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