Cash only at Visa’s Olympics

Whilst strolling round the concessions area looking at the stupidly expensive food and drink, I was amused to hear over the PA that the credit card system had failed so cash was the only way to purchase anything. Happily, I had already bought my bag of sandwiches in a corner shop outside the stadium and free drinking water was on tap.

There is a great report on Forbes about this:

“Thanks to Visa’s sponsorship of the games … there was no fallback to another card provider or merchant system. And the majority of cash machines normally present at Wembley had been removed before the Games started, because they were powered by Link, and not Visa.

Have a guess how many cash machines are inside Olympic venues this year, to help service the expected 11 million spectators.


I am so glad that MasterCard, my employers, aren’t the payments sponsorship for the Olympics. The restrictive practices used by Visa – stopping you buying Olympic tickets with any other cards, removing the 27 Link ATMs, etc. – just leave a bad taste in the mouth (and I have a Visa card). That’s not to say MasterCard wouldn’t have done exactly the same, or worse, if they were sponsors but luckily we’ll probably never know.

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