Changing the Game: Visa Sets Sights on a “Cashless Japan” with One Year to Go to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
With one year to go until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Visa, the Worldwide Payment Technology Partner of the Olympic 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 Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 expected to be the most innovative Olympic and Paralympic Games yet, Visa 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.”
Supporting the Road to a ‘Cashless Japan’
Today, only about one-fifth of all payments in Japan use digital methods compared with around 90% in South Korea and roughly 60% in the U.S and 70% in China. With 40 million visitors expected to arrive in Japan next year, Visa has a range of initiatives underway to ensure the best possible commerce and payments experiences, including:
- Growing Digital Payment Acceptance: To address 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.
- Team Visa for Cashless Japan: Since 2000, Visa has 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 Visa’s marketing campaign, already live in Japan. Throughout the year, Visa will continue expanding the Team Visa roster, highlighting Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and promoting the use of digital payments.
- Building a Partner Ecosystem: As the world’s leader in digital payments, Visa drives innovation to its 3.4 billion accountholders through a wide group of financial services, merchant, technology and fintech partners. To further grow its network in Japan, Visa has launched Visa Fintech Fastrack to make it quicker and easier for fintechs to build and deliver new digital commerce experiences on Visa’s payments network. Visa has also recently partnered with LINE Pay Corporation, operator of digital wallet and fintech services on the LINE messaging app to encourage digital payment adoption.
- Games-time Innovations: As the exclusive payment technology sponsor, Visa is in a unique position to bring cutting-edge payment technologies to every Olympic Games, often trialing technology not yet commercially available. At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Visa offered a payment-enabled ring to its Team Visa athletes. At the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Visa 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.
- Measuring Inbound Global Travel & Spend to Japan: According to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions (GTI) Study, Japan has overtaken the United States as the most popular destination within the past two years among the international travelers surveyed. In the lead up to the Olympic Games, Visa will continue to share consumer travel and spend data and predictions on Olympic-related tourism trends, to help prepare local merchants for an influx of foreign travelers.