back to blogs

Visa and the Olympic ATM battle

Thursday, June 7, 2012

With the Diamond Jubilee over, it is time for London to start focusing on the Olympics and that is just what Visa is doing. It has been recently covered in Time that Visa is causing quite a royal uproar by squeezing other card services out of the Olympics. As a huge sponsor of the Olympics, Visa has a right to exclusivity. However, the news coming out of olde London town is alarming! It is being reported that Visa has kicked out all of the other card sponsored ATMs within the Olympic venues. What does this mean? This is going to translate in to long queues (yes I am picking up on the lingo!) at each ATM ultimately leading to fewer fans in the stand cheering their teams to gold. Surely with only Visa ATMs there have to be 30 to 40 ATMs throughout all of the venues; oh surely not ... there are only going to be 8 ATMs throughout the entire Olympic village. Say what?!? This has caused the United Kingdom Press Association to get up in arms. They are worried that in a society where 85% of all transactions are done in cash, that people are not going to be able to access their accounts if they are not a Visa card holder. This is a valid arguement, but one that Visa is prepared to rebut. They suggest that Olympic goers simply arm themselves with cash prior to entering the venues or that they purchase pre-paid visa cards just for the events.

So my questions for you are (1) is this a good idea? Should'nt they have left the 27 ATMs in place and offer free ATM fees for Visa users? This would generate revenue by allowing ALL card holders to use the ATMs and incentivize the use by Visa card holders AND (2) what is your favorite event at the Olympics?