The Olympics has been touted as the biggest test ground ever seen for the mobile payments industry. Millions of tickets went on sale and sports venues around the country were kitted out with state of the art mobile payment devices, ready to feed and water
the crowds en masse.
Given the sheer numbers of people who attended it goes without saying the amount of pressure placed on payments systems throughout the Games was always going to be immense. Judging by the crash of Wembley Stadium’s Visa payments systems during Team GB’s
football match recently, it seems the pressure was too great.
Visa, the Olympics official payment provider, was quick to point the finger at Wembley officials, placing the blame firmly on the stadium’s network infrastructure. This knee-jerk reaction may have been as a result of negative news stories quoting angry spectators,
unable to get their hands on their half time snacks.
Twitter too heaved with thousands of angry posts from people who found it completely unacceptable that they couldn’t feed themselves. This was due to the fact that the only way to pay was with old fashioned cash and coins, a means of payments that interestingly
a lot of fans were in short supply of.
This says a lot about how far we have come as a payments nation and while many observers will have read the press reports and complaining tweets with disapproval, the whole incident has actually provided the mobile payments sector with some of the most robust
market analysis ever produced in the UK.
Convenience has clearly become a key factor when it comes to making payments and cash is no longer convenient for many consumers. Only a few years ago, an outage like this would not even have registered on the media landscape, let alone become a trending
topic on Twitter. Today however, it went mainstream highlighting that the reliance people have on digital payment methods is massive.
While one system’s blip may have appeared a setback for the payments industry, the insight it has provided into people’s payment habits has been more valuable, giving all mobile payments players more proof than ever before that this type of transaction is
the way of the future.