With Visa’s contactless payment trials under way at the 2012 Olympics, the Telegraph’s Matt Warman took to the Olympic Village to see firsthand how the new payment technology is catching on.
The first thing Warman noticed is that every retailer in the Village supports Visa and Visa alone. However, despite Visa’s monopoly on Olympic retailers, the company appears to not be forcing the issue with contactless payments, according to Warman.
“Inside the Olympic equestrian venue at Greenwich, Visa is not pushing contactless directly,” wrote Warman. “But enough of the specially equipped Samsung phones [Galaxy S III] have been used to make staff familiar with the idea of users offering them as a method of payment.”
To those staff who were not yet familiar, Warman noted that NFC payments were often met with a “quizzical look,” with one staff member observing that tapping and paying with a mobile phone “is like the future.”
Warman went on to observe that the biggest problem facing NFC seems to be getting consumers to trust mobile wallet brands with their money. Merchants also appear wary of the technology, which may require more hardware upgrades than they are willing to invest in.
Still, Warman seems to think that this skepticism will eventually give way and mobile will emerge as the preferred way to pay.
“As mobile phones replace the satnav, the address book, the Dictaphone and other gadgets, it seems too convenient for them not also to usurp the wallet,” concluded Warman. “For many, a visit to the Olympic Park may be all about gold — but mobile phones are setting a new standard for currency.”
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