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Visa revels in NFC success across Olympic venues

Firm sees event as turning point in growth of tap-and-go systems
Mon Sep 17 2012, 09:00
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THE LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES are all over. After four weeks of some of the greatest sporting action to ever take place on these shores it has all come to an end.

It's fair to say there might be more than one or two more people out there running, cycling, playing tennis, weightlifting and pole-vaulting after being inspired to try out new sports, having been exposed to them for the first time.

Technology too could benefit from this increased exposure that the Olympics has generated.

For example, anyone lucky enough to visit the Olympic Park and the rest of the sports venues will have seen huge numbers of Visa Paywave systems in use. For those with NFC-enabled cards this helped to speed up payment for food, drink and other goods, while others will have watched with a mixture of fascination, bemusement and maybe even awe at this payment wizardry taking place in front of their eyes.

For Visa, this was all part of the plan, as the firm's VP of contactless technologies, Anne Van Schrader explained to The INQUIRER.

"The Olympics was definitely the right environment to demonstrate our Paywave systems," she said.

"We had the whole world coming to the sites and we could showcase the speed, convenience and security that we can offer."

The importance of keeping queues moving was a key way Visa helped demonstrate this in real terms, with 2,000 terminals at the Olympic Park and over 1,000 in total across other venues.

Unsurprisingly this led to a huge uptick in NFC use in the capital.

"Transactions doubled during the UK for contactless payments, which is a fantastic result," said Van Schrader.

"We are now looking to maintain this growth and accelerate awareness among consumers of what this technology can do."

A key way the firm hopes this growth will increase is through merchants themselves both embracing the technology and educating their customers, explained Van Schrader.

"We're noticing that more retailers are now telling their customers when they can pay using Paywave," she said.


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