Visa and its partners build a digital legacy for Japan and help to accelerate economic growth

With one year to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Visa, a worldwide payment technology partner of the Games, is preparing innovative payment experiences for athletes, visitors and citizens in support of the government’s “Cashless Japan” imperative to double the total of payments made digitally to 40 percent by 2025.

With the Games expected to be the most innovative Olympic and Paralympic Games yet, the brand is in a unique position to help the Games become a catalyst for delivering the best in digital payments to Japan.

“There is virtually no other market in the world today that compares to Japan – it is the world’s third-largest economy and a leader across many industries, yet commerce remains predominantly cash-based,” said Stephen Karpin, Representative Director & Country Manager of Japan, Visa.

“Visa embraces the Olympic Games as an opportunity to offer cutting-edge payment technologies at venues and the Olympic Village, and throughout the host country to truly enhance the fan experience.

“For Tokyo 2020, we are planning experiences that will leave a lasting impact on the country, with the goal of helping accelerate economic growth, while providing the Japanese community and visitors with a ‘wow’ experience on-the-ground.”

Today, only about one-fifth of all payments in Japan use digital methods compared with around 90 percent in South Korea, roughly 60 percent in the US, and 70 percent in China. With 40 million visitors expected to arrive in Japan next year, the brand has a range of initiatives underway to ensure the best possible commerce and payments experiences, including:

Addressing the current prevalence of cash. Visa is working closely with merchants in a wide range of business categories, including Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), transit and convenience stores, to upgrade and enable contactless point-of-sale (POS) and to drive adoption for digital payments prior to the start of Tokyo 2020.

Since 2000, the brand has also supported Team Visa, a diverse roster of global athletes who compete in a wide range of events, representing the brand on-and-off the field of competition. Team Visa athlete and Japanese Olympic hopeful in the newly added sport of surfing, Kanoa Igarashi, is “riding the cashless wave” in the brand’s marketing campaign, already live in Japan. Throughout the year, it will continue expanding the Team Visa roster and our marketing efforts that highlight these Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, to elevate their stories and promote the use of digital payments.

As the exclusive payment technology sponsor, the brand is in a unique position to bring cutting-edge payment technologies to every Olympic Games, often trialling technology not yet commercially available. At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, it offered a payment-enabled ring to its Team Visa athletes. At the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, it commercially sold wearable products, such as gloves and lapel pins, enabled to make payments over contactless payment readers. 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 was a five-time global winner of the World Branding Awards in the Credit Card category.

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