Credit card giant Visa has been a worldwide Olympic partner since 1986 and has recently extended its current commitment to the games right through to 2032. One key role usually fulfilled by Visa is providing payment services to spectators – a group which have been very notably missing from the Tokyo games – but regardless, the company is committed to bringing the event to life by supporting athletes, engaging fans and “enhancing the games payment experience” for all.
Visa in numbers:
- 3.3 billion – Visa cards currently in circulation
- 188 billion – transactions processed annually using VisaNet
- Down 19% – the drop in average UK credit card balances between Jan 2020 and Jan 2021
Visa’s cooperation with the games goes well beyond processing payment for ticket sales – it’s the only card accepted at the event as part of its agreement, with the company also using the event as a showcase for the most technologically advanced payment systems which are available. These include contactless-enabled devices and new wearable payment innovations – something that is increasingly important with reports nothing that in 2020, 40% of all UK credit card transactions were done on a contactless basis.
Visa is also sponsoring an athlete award, one for each of the Olympic and Paralympic games. This is voted for by fans worldwide and looks to highlight the inspirational and unifying athletes who best exemplify the movement’s values – not just the medal winners. A donation of $50,000 will be made to a charity of the athlete’s choice.
Visa also sponsors Olympians and Olympic hopefuls directly. Since 2000, more than 500 athletes from across the globe have been supported by the company, including swimmer Adam Peaty and 13 year old skateboarder Sky Brown.
Visa had hoped to use the games as a springboard to drive wider adoption of digital payments in Japan. Despite the country’s high tech reputation, data from 2018 showed that only 31% of payments are made electronically, versus 58% in the USA and 91% in South Korea.