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Visa confirms mobile payments trial with Galaxy S3 at London Olympics

Visa has confirmed that it will showcase mobile NFC payments at the London Olympics using Samsung’s new Galaxy S3.

Samsung even plans to create a limited edition handset for the occasion, but the bad news is that only athletes are being invited to take part in the trial.

The NFC payments are enabled using Visa payWave, an app that allows consumers to use their smartphone to pay for goods at the point of sale simply by touching it on a card reader.

Payments for less than £20 require no further interaction, but anything over that requires a passcode. The app also allows customers to check their transaction history and view their account balance.

In January Visa certified smartphones from LG, Samsung and RIM as safe to use its payWave app, but this is the first time it will be trialled in the UK.

By the time the torch is lit at the start of the Olympics there will be 140,000 contactless terminals around the UK, including taxis, retailers and outlets in the Olympic Park.

If the trial is a success then it could be a major PR coup for Visa and Samsung as they seek to promote the use of NFC mobile payments.

In March we reported research by which showed that while 20% of British consumers were aware of Google Wallet, only 10% had heard of payWave.

It will also face growing competition from mobile payment apps Square and PayPal Here which are already gaining a foothold in the US.

More worryingly for Visa, the same survey found that 60% of British adults would avoid making NFC mobile payments.

A further 17% would be interested in using NFC on their smartphone but would be worried about the technology working correctly.

Security concerns (36%) were the most common reason for avoiding mobile payments.

The Olympics trial is therefore a great opportunity to showcase mobile NFC payments and try to build consumer trust.

However, Visa has long been trumpeting the fact that London 2012 will be the first ‘contactless Olympic Games’, so it is slightly disappointing that consumers will not be involved in the trial.

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