Olympic Athletes Hope for Medal, Guaranteed Visa Payments Ring
Not all Olympic athletes will be coming home from the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games with medals around their necks, but they’ll be coming home with rings on their fingers. The first contactless payments ring linked to a Visa-branded GPR account will be given to approximately 45 athletes that are part of Team Visa.
The 2016 Olympics will mark the official rollout of the Visa payment ring but only for Team Visa athletes at this time. A pilot with employees and clients will be conducted later this summer, according to Christopher Dean, Visa senior director, innovation and strategic partnerships.
Users can reload their GPR accounts through a linked credit or debit card. The ring is made with an NFC antenna and secure Gemalto microchip. It doesn’t require a battery or recharging, is water resistant to 50 meters and comes in 20 sizes and two colors, black or white.
Visa, which has been an Olympic sponsor for 30 years, is the exclusive payment provider of the Olympics and will install approximately 4,000 NFC-enabled POS terminals at major Olympic venues in Rio.
Podium for Payments
This year’s Olympics isn’t the first time Visa has used the event to promote or introduce new ways for consumers to pay. For example, for the 2012 Olympics in London, Visa and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. flooded the games with NFC-enabled mobile phones to broaden awareness and acceptance of contactless payment technology.
The ring should come in handy this year given the amount of money spent at the Olympic Games. During the 2012 Olympics, combined spending from Australia, Canada, France, London the Netherlands and the U.S. made up almost half of the total spend during the games at £731.4 million ($US1.1 billion), said Visa citing the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics. (See infographic below.)
At an event in New York last week Visa announced an advanced version of the payments ring using tokenization technology through its Visa Token Services. During a transaction, the technology replaces payment account information with a secure token that’s restricted in how it can be used with a specific device, merchant, transaction type or channel. Visa will be demonstrating the prototype at the Olympic Games.
In other Visa news, the network has launched a hosted-service mobile app, which it says will make it easier for financial institutions to provide card management services for their customers. The Visa Digital Commerce App is an issuer-branded app enabling FIs to offer cardholders balance information, card controls and alerts for Visa prepaid, debit and credit cards. Tokenization services also are available for NFC-enabled Android OS smartphones. Visa said more than 40 U.S. financial institutions are implementing the Visa Digital Commerce App, but the payments network also is offering the app to its processor and channel partners for their financial institution customers.
- Visa, Samsung Bringing NFC-Equipped Handset to 2012 Olympics
- Consumers Spend $10 Million in Beijing on Visa Cards during Olympics’ Day
- Who Are You Wearing?