Olympics Payment Partner Visa Embraces ‘Cashless Japan’

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Visa is exploring state-of-the-art payment experiences at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to support “Cashless Japan.” 

The mandate handed down by Japan’s lawmakers strives to increase the total of digital payments from 20 percent to 40 percent by 2025, Visa said in a press release on Thursday (July 24)

“There is virtually no other market in the world today that compares to Japan — it is the world’s third-largest economy and a leader across many industries, yet commerce remains predominantly cash-based,” Visa Representative Director and Country Manager of Japan Stephen Karpin said in the press release. “Visa embraces the Olympic Games as an opportunity to offer cutting-edge payment technologies at venues and the Olympic Village, and throughout the host country to truly enhance the fan experience.” 

As the exclusive payment technology sponsor of the Olympics, Visa is planning unique experiences for Tokyo 2020 that will help expedite economic growth and offer the estimated 40 million visitors something different, Karpin said. 

About one-fifth of all payments in Japan use digital methods compared with around 90 percent in South Korea, 70 percent in China and roughly 60 percent in the U.S., according to Visa.

Visa is working closely with merchants to innovate payments ahead of Tokyo 2020, including quick service restaurants (QSR) and contactless point-of-sale (POS).

The company recently renewed its partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through 2032, extending a relationship that has been going on for more than 30 years. This secures Visa’s position as the exclusive payment technology provider and the only card accepted at the Olympic Games.

Also on the table are more Games-time innovations ranging from biometric payment authentication and wearables to new mobile applications with digitally-issued cards. Visa offered payment-enabled rings to athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. At the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Visa commercially sold wearable products enabled to make payments over contactless payment readers.