Samsung, Visa to Test Mobile Payment at Olympics

Admin | 5:24 AM |

Next year's London Olympic games are shaping up to be a showcase for mobile payment technology as companies race for dominance in a potentially massive market.

The games will give Samsung and credit card company Visa a chance to show off their near-field communications, or NFC, mobile payment system. Special Samsung Olympic phones equipped with a Visa-enabled SIM card will be issued to athletes sponsored by the companies and will be sold to visitors. With half a million extra tourists are expected in the London along with 17,000 athletes from 215 countries and territories, mobile payments will be getting their most high-profile experiment yet.

"Visa, like Samsung, shares the vision of leveraging our Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsorship to leave a lasting legacy in the market for banks, retailers, mobile operators, and consumers," said Peter Ayliffe, Visa Europe's chief executive. "We are not only breaking new ground for Olympic partnerships, we are committed to enabling consumers to connect with mobile and contactless payments technology for 2012 and beyond."

Other companies, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon and wireless carriers, are all involved in the race for part of the $1.13 trillion market that mobile payments is expected to be by 2014. Just this week it was revealed that Google is planning to install thousands of NFC devices in stores in New York and San Francisco this summer as a test.

Although there are example of cooperation -- AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have banded together to form Isis -- most early entrants are racing alone in hopes of establishing an early lead. Nobody wants to be the Beta to the competition's VHS. A notable exception is Apple, which is reported holding off on incorporating NFC into its iPhone until something more like a standard emerges.

In the meantime, a number of competing systems will each try to convince consumers that they are the inevitable best choice. High-profile exposure from the Olympic will help Samsung and Visa do this. The Olympics and Paralympics, which between them run from July through September 2012, will provide a global showcase for the companies to display the new technology.

NFC could eventually make credit cards obsolete. The technology lets users make payments by waving their smartphones in front of special devices at checkouts and in restaurants, bars, gas stations and other points of sale.

The NFC Forum, a non-profit group promoting the technology, said today that 32 new member companies are now on board.

Source is Here