Off to the Olympics?
Posted in 'Personal Finance' by Richard Catlin
15 June 2012
If you’re lucky enough to be attending an Olympic venue this summer, you’d better put some thought into how you’re going to pay for the over-priced merchandise and refreshments that you’ll no doubt find there.
It has been confirmed that, as one of the official ‘Olympic Partners’, Visa will be the only card accepted at all Games venues this summer – in the same way that Visa was the only payment option available to people purchasing tickets when they went on sale last year.
Even visitors who are planning to pay with cash (which at the time of writing is still being accepted) need to plan in advance where they’re going to make cash withdrawals, as Visa has been allowed to close 27 cashpoints at Olympic venues and replace them with 8 of their own that accept only Visa credit and debit cards.
The decision to restrict payment options at Olympic venues comes at a time when consumers are able to choose from more payment methods than ever before when it comes to day-to-day purchases.
NatWest and RBS have just rolled out an addition to their mobile banking app that allows its customers to withdraw cash from ATM’s using a six digit code generated using their smartphone. It follows on from Barclaycard’s Quick Tap service – which allows customers to pay for goods and services costing up to £15 using just their mobile phone.
Barclays has also rolled out its Pingit app – a service that allows consumers to send or receive money with your Barclays account.
New technology is being rolled out at such a pace that contactless payment cards already feel like old news and it seems a shame that the payment options open to visitors to the Olympics are going to be so restricted.
There’s no question that corporate sponsors are a key component in making the Olympics the spectacular global event that they have become, but some people are questioning the power given to corporate giants.
Even the Olympic torch relay – currently snaking its way around the British Isles – is dependent on ‘presenting sponsors’. That the relay will pass within an hour of 95% of the population is fantastic, but I have to admit to finding it quite strange to see the crowds cheering the Coca Cola and Samsung buses that proceeded ahead of the torch relay itself.
It is reassuring to know that although a key aim of the London 2012 Games is to create a lasting legacy for future generations, the restrictions on payment options at the Games will soon be distant memory.
Richard Catlin is Marketing Manager at checkmyfile.com. He has a degree in Geography from the University of Glamorgan and can be contacted at email@example.com
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