Visa is aiming to facilitate cash-free shopping for attendees of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia: The company has announced that it will deploy POS terminals supporting a variety of digital payment mechanisms, including payments via smartphones and smartwatches.
In a statement, Visa estimated that Russia will see somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 additional visitors from abroad during June and July of next year, on top of the usual 4.3 million expected travelers for that period. And those travelers will bring money. Looking to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Visa says visitors spent 31 percent more per payment card than regular tourists.
The deployment of cashless payment systems, then, is a logical response, since travelers won’t necessarily equip themselves with the foreign currency they need for every situation.
Visa’s effort echoes its announcement last month that it will promote wearable payment devices at the upcoming Winter Olympics and Paralympics in South Korea, and it’s fair to speculate that if those deployments are a hit, Visa will make them available at the World Cup next summer. Soccer fans will have money to spend, and as FIFA’s Official Payment Service Partner, Visa will want to help them spend it.