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The Cash-is-Cool Olympics Campaign
The Cash-is-Cool Olympics Campaign
Campaigns » The Cash-is-Cool Olympics Campaign

Olympic sponsors combine to push out cash at London’s Olympics

Visa’s plans for an entirely cashless Olympic Games in 2012 may have fallen at the first hurdle, but this has not stopped them attempting to keep the use of cash on site to an absolute minimum.

Visa (The Games’ “exclusive Payment Services sponsor”), Samsung Electronics, (“Wireless Communications Equipment sponsor”) and Lloyds TSB (“banking sponsor”) have announced they are clubbing together to promote cashless payments using NFC-ready mobile handsets.

As the inaugural act of their new alliance, this cash-bashing partnership has generously decided to issue the special “Samsung Olympic and Paralympic Games mobile handset” to the athletes competing in next year’s Games (bagging themselves plenty of free endorsement and publicity in the process). Consumers will, of course, have to reach deep into their wallets if they want to use any of the cashless payment devices at the Olympics.

The crux of this issue for consumers who value independence and freedom of choice is that the handset itself will only work in conjunction with (yes, you’ve guessed it) a Visa enabled SIM card. Indeed, in the announcement on the plans for the new technology, it was indicated that the mobile device will come with a pre-loaded Visa application, which users will have to activate before being able to make payments.

So now we all know now where this is heading. Once more, Visa has stepped in to make sure that its monopoly over all payment methods at the Olympics remains fully intact; whilst extracting a tidy sum from consumers who are faced with no cost effective alternative.
First Visa resolves to make contactless payments the only game in town at the Olympics, then it asks consumers to pay in order to play. For those of us with perfectly good, fully functioning phones, (thank you very much), the prospect of having to buy an entirely new handset to make a simple purchase at the Olympic sites seems ridiculous.

Of course, whether London will actually get the mobile payments system in time remains to be seen; it’s not the first time ambitious plans for Olympics-timed wireless systems have been scuppered. However, if you ask us, just take a fist full of fivers, and buy your lunch with good old user friendly, cash. You don’t need an app for that!

Friday, 24th June 2011

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