Visa provides NFC payment bands to Team GB Olympians

Visa's NFC wrist band worn by Team GB swimmer Adam Peaty

Visa provided Team GB Olympic hopefuls competing in Rio with an NFC-enabled contactless payment wrist band.

Visa is using the NFC-enabled bands to allow contactless payments at the event for some 366 Team GB athletes and a further 150 support crew and athlete stakeholders. People equipped with the band are able to make purchases by tapping the wearable at any NFC-capable payment terminal.

Visa developed the bands in partnership with Barclaycard. They utilise a secure bPay microchip with an embedded NFC-enabled antenna to allow contactless payments without the use of a battery or need for it to be recharged.

Early last month, Barclaycard announced the bPay Loop, a small loop of silicone containing a bPay chip that can be slotted onto any wrist-worn device to turn it into a contactless way to pay, reported Smart Chimps.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director, digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, said: “bPay removes the need to fumble around for cash or a card, making it ideal for busy athletes on the move who want a quick and easy way to pay. Contactless spending is growing at a rapid rate.”

Contactless payment take-up is on the rise, Smart Chimps reported; according to Juniper Research, the global value of contactless PoS (point of sale) terminal transactions, conducted in-store via cards, mobile and wearables, will approach $500 billion (€447 billion) annually by 2017, up from an estimated $321 billion this year. However, the low value nature of contactless payments means that it will only represent 5 per cent of the total value of all PoS transactions in 2017, the company noted.

Prior to the Games, Visa created an advanced payment system featuring 4,000 NFC-enabled Visa POS terminals, which are able to accept mobile and wearable payments to make it easy for visitors to buy food, drinks and mementos of the event.

Meanwhile, Kevin Jenkins, MD for the UK and Ireland at Visa, said that embedding payment capabilities into a wearable device makes “life so much easier -- fewer things to carry, fewer things to keep track of --, which is why Visa is innovating in this area with our partners”.

For more:

- see this Visa press release
- see this Smart Chimps Juniper Research story
- see this Smart Chimps Barclaycard article

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