LONDON -- Visa Europe and Samsung are teaming up to launch a phone that uses near field communications which athletes and visitors will be able to use at the 2012 Olympic Games in London to make mobile payments.
To make payments on the Samsung Olympic phone, users open the Visa mobile contactless application embedded in the device, select "pay," and hold the phone in front of a contactless reader at the point of purchase. The app will also let users view their transaction histories. The phone will feature Olympic-themed content.
Samsung is the worldwide Olympic partner for wireless communications equipment and Visa is the Olympics exclusive payment services sponsor.
In London, there are already more than 60,000 locations at which contactless payments are accepted.
Visa and Samsung plan to distribute the phones to athletes. They will also make them available for consumers to purchase in the UK through mobile network operators and other distributors. A Visa-enabled SIM card will be required for use with the device in order to make purchases from retailers who offer the contactless payment system.
The companies said they plan to expand the service to other countries in Europe and around the world in the near future.
The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, which between them will run from July to September, will provide a global showcase for the companies to display the new technology.
"Visa, like Samsung, shares the vision of leveraging our Olympic and Paralympic Games sponsorship to leave a lasting legacy in the market for banks, retailers, mobile operators and consumers," said Visa Europe chief executive Peter Ayliffe. "We are not only breaking new ground for Olympic partnerships, we are committed to enabling consumers to connect with mobile and contactless payments technology for 2012 and beyond."
Separately, rumors began circulating last week that Coca-Cola Co., a worldwide sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, is in talks with Visa to install NFC-equipped vending machines in the Olympic park to support contactless payments. Coke began deploying contactless payment vending machines in Belgium and Luxembourg late last year. Patrons affix a sticker to the back of their mobile phones and hold them in front of the readers to pay for purchases.