Visa Wins Big at Olympics

Visa wanted to use the Olympics to get its foot firmly in the door in Beijing. The results are good so far. The credit card giant has been almost as dominant as the US men’s basketball squad.

Visa started preparations well before The Games. They helped over 200,000 merchants become Visa-ready and installed nearly 90,000 ATMs country-wide.

So who is plopping down the plastic in China’s largely cash-based society? Americans, who else? Visa claims that nearly 20% of the revenue on the first day of the Olympics came from consumers from the US. Japanese were the second largest group of users, accounting for 13% of the day one total.

Visa is using the Olympics to get itself in good position for the future in China. But is China benefiting from the wider use of plastic? Small and medium-sized retail businesses are probably seeing immediate results with the souvenir-happy tourists who have descended on Beijing. Visa claimed that there were $10 million worth of sales on day one alone. That’s $10 million dollars into the local economy.

Talk about laughing all the way to the bank. China won’t be laughing in the future when it finds that domestic credit card debt is on the rise, but for now, unlike the Olympic events themselves, in the credit card game, everyone is a winner.

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