Visa preparing for 2008 Beijing Olympics

Travel News Asia Thursday, 9 August 2007

With the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games now less than a year away, Visa, an official sponsor and exclusive payment card for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, is helping China speed up its process of building a world-class payment infrastructure. Visa International and its Chinese member banks have increased the number of merchant outlets that accept payment cards in China by 60% compared with a year earlier.

Between June 2006 and June 2007, Visa has seen to the installation of 25,000 more ATMs and 76,000 more merchant locations - equating to an average of more than 210 new Visa merchants and 68 ATMs per day.

In helping to lay the groundwork in the lead up to the Games, Visa aims to help China prepare for the expected influx of international visitors next year who will want to purchase goods and services with their payment card with the same convenience and sense of security that they have at home.

Richard Chang, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Visa China said, Our previous experience during the Olympic Games has shown that with international visitors present for the Games, there was an increase in the use of electronic payment. During the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Visa transactions in Greece in August 2004 increased by 55% over the previous year, with an average transaction value of 86.25 (US$103.50). At the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, the average transaction at Visas ATMs was 35% higher than in Athens and 95% higher than in 2002 during the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games where we already had seen a 30% increase in sales on Visa payment cards over the same period in 2001.

Visa has been extending the acceptance of international payment cards in China for the past few years and the results speak for themselves. International Visa cardholders spent RMB13.6 billion (US$1.76 billion) at retail outlets in China in the first half of 2007. This is almost 20% more compared with the same period in 2006. With the Olympic Games fast approaching, it is important that China has a reliable and international-standard payment network, not only in Beijing but also in other cities hosting Olympic events and expecting an increase in tourist arrivals.

As with the past 11 Games, Visa payment facilities will be installed in the Olympic village, media centers, official hotels, and competition and training venues to ensure that Visa cardholders are able to make secure and efficient transactions and have easy access to cash.

As of June 2007, more than 206,000 merchant outlets and almost 69,000 ATMs in China accept international Visa payment cards. According to Visas merchant expansion plan, another 10,000 merchants in Beijing are expected to be added to the list of those accepting international cards by the end of 2008.

See other recent news regarding: Visa, Beijing, ATM, Olympics

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