Let the Games Begin - NFC Payments at the Olympics

By Carl Ford October 19, 2011

According to Marketing Week, Visa Europe and Samsung are in talks with several banks and carriers to enable them to sell an NFC phone for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The purpose of this phone is to include an application that is branded by Visa and Samsung as sponsors of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Samsung already has several phones in the market that are available with near field communications based on their own chips.

The point is to make mobile payments for applications available at the Games.

“The ‘Olympics Phone’ will let users make mobile payments via an?app embedded on the device that communicates with compatible tills via the NFC technology standard.”

While the existing phones are based on Android that support NFC, it may be that this phone, due out later this year will be built on Samsung’s OS Bada.

The system is designed to allow you to use a PIN, but it is an optional security function. It is unclear from the write up if this will be enabled for both debit- and credit-based accounts.

To promote the use of the phone, an expectation exists that major sports figures will be given the phones to use throughout the games.

Combined with its ability to enable digital signs, we could see some very interesting strategies and personally, I think Samsung could do much more with this system.

The combination of Samsung display screens and perhaps their video conferencing system, the VC240, could be a great way to connect call center and family to the impulse buyer.

This sounds like an interesting application, but given the crowds at the Olympics, the biggest problem may be getting near the field.

Carl Ford is a partner at Crossfire Media.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

Partner, Crossfire Media

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