The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are just a year away, and as the Olympic Games’ Worldwide Payment Technology Partner, Visa is once again gearing up to promote cutting-edge payments technologies among attendees and even participants.
Working with its partners, the financial services giant promoted the use of wearable payment devices – including a wristband and even a ring – at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and it continued this NFC-driven wearables push at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang with the introduction of payment-enabled gloves.
Now, the company has announced that it’s going to push the envelope even further in Tokyo, with a strong focus on mobile and biometrics payment options. “For Tokyo 2020, Visa is exploring payment innovations ranging from biometric payment authentication and wearables to new mobile applications which will include digitally-issued cards,” Visa said in a statement.
It’s a plan in support of a “Cashless Japan” initiative on the part of the Japanese government, which appears to be tied to government authorities’ efforts to support the development of biometric payment systems that would link visitors’ fingerprint biometrics to the travel documents and payment accounts, allowing them to do things like check into hotels and make purchases with the tap of a finger. This is also tied to a growing, general enthusiasm for biometric technologies among Japanese authorities, with parallel efforts underway to implement biometric screening at airports.
For Visa, meanwhile, it’s another example of the company’s efforts to promote contactless payments through sports and athletic partnerships, with the company having recently published analysis of how its efforts in the recent Women’s World Cup helped to facilitate a shift in consumer spending practices. Tokyo offers another such opportunity, and with rivals like Mastercard racing toward the launch of fingerprint-scanning payment cards, Visa’s planned focus on biometric technologies is a timely one.