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  1. Analysis
February 14, 2018

Cool Runnings for Visa in Pyeongchang

By Briony Richter

Visa has been a Worldwide Olympic partner since 1986 and for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, three new wearable payment products will be available for athletes and fans, Briony Richter reports.

With the 2018 Winter Olympics just around the corner, Visa showcases three new wearable payment devices to make the Olympic experience for athletes and fans simpler and a little warmer. Suzy Brown, UK and Ireland marketing director at Visa, speaks to EPI about Visa’s Olympic partnership.

“Since 1986, the Olympic Games have been Visa’s most visible sponsorship across the globe. Our partnership with the Olympics Games delivers tremendous global exposure and access to virtually every demographic group.

“As a company and as a brand, we have always stood for universal acceptance. The partnership helps us to facilitate the development and advancement of the payment infrastructure in host countries and deliver the best possible payment innovations around the world.”

The three wearables on offer are; the commemorative Olympic pin, the payment-enabled gloves and a payments sticker. The commemorative pin is inspired by the tradition of collecting memorable pins at Olympic Games. Visa has produced four different lapel pins that feature PyeongChang designs and can be utilised on-site to make payments.

Brown talks more about the commemorative pins.

“During the Games, the payment pins will be available at the Official Olympic Superstores in Visa vending machines on the Gangneug Olympic Plaza and PyeongChang Olympic Park, and will be usable at all 1,100 terminals at the Olympic venue. Globally, the payment wearables will be accepted anywhere merchant NFC-enabled terminals are located.

“These wearables act like a pre-paid card; at the time of purchase, the consumer will choose the monetary denomination to load onto the card before making a payment. The devices are non-reloadable.”

The three devices are there to ensure seamless payment methods for all attending. During the Olympics, the average temperature will be around -4.8°C so gloves are a must-have, which is why one of the wearables is the payment-enabled gloves. The gloves contain a dual-interface chip, housed with a contactless antenna.

Customers making purchases can just tap through a transaction without having to remove their gloves and expose their hands to the cold weather. The gloves include prepaid amounts that Visa say are valued at KRW30,000 ($35) OR KRW50,000.

The third wearable is a payment-enabled sticker that is embedded with a dual interface NFC-chip and antenna. These stickers, that boast a thin and flexible adhesive design, can be attached to almost anything and allow visitors to make quick and easy payments. The sticker collection comes in eight designs, including the official PyeongChang 2018 mascot.

Brown says: “We are proud to be the exclusive payment technology partner of the Olympic Games through to 2020. As the payments industry increasingly shifts from plastic to digital, new technology advances from Visa and our partners are bringing consumers a simple and secure purchasing experience. To ensure innovation continues, we offer our payments ecosystem – financial institutions, device manufacturers, technology companies – the tools and services that help deliver secure, fast and reliable payments across diverse commerce experiences.

“In future Games, we may see payments taking place in never-before ways. Our quest to deliver safer, faster and smarter ways to pay isn’t just a focus for us in the lead-up to global events like the Olympics though; it is in our DNA and we are constantly looking to provide consumers with the most secure and advanced payment system through Visa.”

Ahead of the Winter Olympics, Visa teamed up with Lotte Card, the financial arm of South Korean-based retail giant, Lotte Department store to produce these wearables. Designed specifically for the games, they can only be purchased on-site. In addition to this Visa is facilitating the entire payment system infrastructure throughout all the venues to enable seamless payment methods. More than 1,000 contactless point-of-sale terminals will accept mobile and wearable payments.

Iain Jamieson, Korea country manager at Visa, concludes: “We are looking forward to transforming the payment experience for everyone who attends the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.

“At Visa, we have been working tirelessly to ensure all of the Olympic venues are equipped with the very latest payment capabilities to provide the best experience possible for all those on-site.”

This is not the first time Visa has ventured into designing wearables for the Olympics. During the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Visa developed and sold payment-enabled rings. The biggest benefit of wearable payment technology is the convenience, and with the harsh temperatures in South Korea, Visa is making sure everyone attending can pay with comfort and ease.

 

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