Visa Shows Off New Payment Wearables for 2018 Winter Olympics

November 10, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Sometimes a marketing ploy manages to be so thoroughly apropos that you can’t help but respect it. Visa recently unveiled some new wearable payment devices ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, including one that’s so obvious and yet so innovative that you just have to cheer for it: payment gloves.

Yes, gloves. Gloves were one of the three new items recently shown off by Visa, official payments partner for the 2018 games, alongside stickers and pin badges. Visa has been tasked with setting up the entire mobile payments operation at the games, with plans to set up over 1,000 separate point-of-sale (PoS) terminals specifically for the event.

A partnership with South Korean retailer Lotte Department Stores’ Lotte Card division has helped drive  operations in the region, and ultimately, has produced not only four different near-field communications (NFC) pin badges, but eight different stickers, which can turn most anything into a contactless payment point.

The real winner, however, is the gloves. Not only will these gloves offer users mobile payment capabilities, but given that the average temperature is pushing down around negative five degrees—likely Celsius—having gloves on hand to warm your hands while also providing a mobile payments push should prove welcome.

While the mobile payments part of this package is impressive enough—not having to carry cash around the Olympic venue should be welcome news for everyone except any pickpockets in the region who will now have largely nothing to pursue– the fact that it’s been built directly into something people will use anyway has to be the best marketing tie-in ever. Most everyone will be wearing gloves at that event; winter in that area is going to be pretty cold, and attendees will be outside for much of it, so gloves will be welcome if not outright vital. For Visa to build in mobile payments options not only makes sense, but will likely be appreciated and may persuade some potential users to become full mobile payments users.

Visa warms hands and pays bills. That’s a marketing pitch that’s hard to ignore, especially when you’re at the Winter Olympics, your hands are freezing, and you’re in the mood for dinner besides.