Cashless Payments At The Olympics Met With Mixed Reviews

VISA smartphone and NFC payment system in London may not be the revolutionary system everyone had hoped for.

PSFK Coverage Of The 2012 London Olympics

Financial services company Visa is championing a new cashless payment system to help meet the needs of the thousands of consumers flocking to this Summer’s Olympic games in London.

Over a thousand people at the olympic games have been given a special edition, Olympic-branded Samsung Galaxy S III phone. By linking their Visa account information with their Galaxy S III phone, users are able pay for items up to £20 in value simply by swiping their phones over a special NFC reader located at the cash register of most vendors.

Even without a new smartphone, Olympic attendees can still go cashless via Visa’s PayWave contactless payment technology. Visa cards with a contactless payment logo on the back are able to be read by the same NFC sensors used by the smartphones allowing card holders to simply wave their Visa cards in front of the reader to pay for their items.

Visa’s head of proucts, Jim McCarthy said of the new technology:

This summer we will be demonstrating the future of payments in London — a future where most consumers will rely on mobile devices, tablets and PCs to manage their daily financial lives.

So far the implementation of cashless payments at the London Olympics has been met with mixed reviews. Spectators attending Olympic soccer games at Wembley Stadium complained of  “ridiculous” lines after Visa’s cashless payment machines stopped functioning. Stadium vendors stopped accepting credit cards and asked fans to use cash instead. Exasperating the situation was the fact that Visa reduced the number of available ATM machines in anticipation of their new cashless payment systems, so getting out cash has become much more difficult.

An annoyed fan posted their complaint to Twitter stating:

80,000 people in Wembley Stadium, and the Visa card payment system has broken down — lot of people without cash going hungry & thirsty!

A spokesperson from Visa says they’re working with Wembley team to fix the problem as soon as possible.

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