Rio Olympics presents ‘incredible’ opportunity for wearable and mobile payments

christ the redeemer

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro presents opportunity for wearable and mobile payments…

Or at least that’s what Visa says.


With 100 days to go until the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Visa has stated that it is creating and operating the entire payment system infrastructure and network throughout all venues including stadiums, press centers, point-of-sale (POS), the Olympic Village and Olympic Superstores. It is planning to implement 4,000 POS terminals across key Olympic venues, as well as 11 ATMs in partnership with Bradesco.

The payments giant also says that as part of this, it will develop and improve payment infrastructures of the host city.

This year Visa will introduce acceptance of new technologies and innovation throughout Rio, focusing on new ways to pay including payment wearables and mobile phones – letting fans swipe, tap, dip or click to pay in Rio.

When PaymentEye contacted Visa, the company confirmed that the 4,000 POS terminals would all be contactless-enabled. And why wouldn’t they be? As Visa’s spokesperson, Andy Gerit said: “Brazil is actually the world’s leading contactless market, with more than 1.7 million contactless terminals in place throughout the country.”

All about the footfall

Visa’s research suggests that an estimated 400,000-500,000 international visitors will walk through the streets of Rio in August. However, the increase in footfall has already started. Visa data points to 2016 inbound travel to Brazil increasing by an estimated 1.2 million travelers for the year, compared to the 2010-2015 average, primarily due to preparations for the Olympics Games.

And where people flock to global events, increase in spending follows. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, during the London 2012 Olympic Games, spending averaged $1,830 per traveler, twice as much per visit than regular tourists to the United Kingdom in 2012.

“This data speaks to the increase in commerce generated through the Olympic Games. More than 200 nations, 10,000 athletes, their families, friends and fans are expected to gather in Rio this summer to enjoy this truly global celebration of sports and athletics,” said im McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa Inc.

Gerit says this makes Rio “an incredible opportunity” to test out new products and payment methods. “These new payment methods will also play a starring role in our global marketing campaign, which will launch closer to the Games.”

“Visa uses its sports sponsorships to introduce, highlight and test emerging payment technology. We do so for many reasons, but one key factor is the sheer volume of transactions that take place and the controlled test environment of an Olympic Park, as well as the spotlight a global event like the Olympics brings with it.”

Related reading

Leave a comment