Visa to trial NFC wearables at Rio Olympic Games

The tests are aimed at increasing awareness of the contactless payment method in the country

Visa and Brazilian bank Bradesco will trial wearables including a bracelet equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology for payments at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

A user base of 3,000 people including athletes, artists and journalists taking part in the sporting events will be using the rubber waterproof bracelet to pay for goods and services inside the Olympic venues at more then 4,000 payment terminals.

The bracelet will operate through a prepaid system and can be used without the need to enter a PIN for transactions under R$50 ($14.50) The devices distributed for the trial can be used until June 2017.

The idea is to promote the contactless payment concept in Brazil more widely during the Games. Despite the fact that 80 percent of card payment terminals in the country are equipped with the technology (about 1,5 million devices) since its launch in 2008, the payment method is still very incipient in Brazil in terms of user and vendor awareness.

After the end of the Olympics, Visa and Bradesco will evaluate the results of the trial and a possible commercial launch could follow in the second half of 2016.

NFC ring

Additionally, a group of 45 Visa-sponsored Olympic athletes will wear an NFC ring, which is based on a design by McLear & Co and equipped with a Gemalto microchip and will also be used for payments during the Games.

At a New York launch earlier this month, the company presented an advanced prototype version of the Visa payment ring, which uses token technology.

The token technology, unseen in wearables so far, replaces sensitive payment data such as the 16-digit account number, with a unique digital identifier that can be used to process payments without revealing specific account information.

The company did not disclose details about a possible commercial launch for the ring in Brazil.

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