back to article Want Olympic tickets? Better get a VisaCard then

The Office of Fair Trading and European regulators are discussing whether any action is needed after it emerged that only Visa credit or debit cards will be accepted for tickets or in shops at Olympic venues. The online Olympics 2012 shop, where from next month you'll be able to buy rubbish models of rubbish mascots Wenlock …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GImme the caaash

    What about cash then? Or is handing over your identity as part of any purchase considered perfectly acceptable and normal nowadays?

    Me, I'm waiting for the day the tax man will send out targeted ads with the tax returns.

  2. Tom Chiverton 1


    So their defence is "but it was OK in other places with other laws" ?

  3. Number6

    That's me out then

    I do have a Visa card, but I object to such practices so I won't bother to even go look at any of the merchandise or tickets.

    Perhaps a complaint to the Monopolies Commission (although there's only one of those...)

  4. Tony S

    Customer service

    "...proud to only accept.. "

    Reduced options for the consumer - not exactly something that any sensible retailer would promote as a Unique Selling Point (USP). But then I am an Old Fart (tm) that used to actually take pride in the high level of service that I offered my customers.

    As it happens, I'm not botherd that they won't take my MasterCard (yes I do have Visa as well, several in fact, but that's not the point) - it just means that I'll keep my money and they will have lost the chance to flog some of their crap.

  5. Mister_C

    But by 2012...

    Anybody paying by debit card will be using Visa anyway.

    At the rate banks are dumping Maestro, there won't be any option.

    HSBC dropped Maestro in favour of Visa late last year. Reason given when my wife asked why: "some countries don't accept Maestro, so holidaymakers can find themselves without card facilities".

    NatWest are currently rolling out Visa and kicking Maestro into touch. Reason given when I asked why: "some countries don't accept Maestro, so holidaymakers can find themselves without card facilities".

    Visa is being forced into a monopoly position by this (independant) strategy, not really their fault that the 2012 shop managers are getting one thing properly ready.

  6. Tom 15


    Isn't Visa pretty much Universal now anyway? I was under the impression that the last few banks that used Mastercard/MAESTRO had ditched them and were replacing any remaining Mastercards with Visas as we speak?

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      Errm, not as far as credit cards go, no...

      If you're just talking about debit cards then you're right, but a quick scan down the list of credit cards on a certain comparison site suggests that slightly over half of those currently available are Mastercards, and many people, myself included, still prefer to use credit cards for online purchases or for larger value purchases from physical stores...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cash indeed

    I'm assuming this is only for on-line transactions. Besides, if they limit the payment methods then they sell less stuff - duh!


    1. Simon Cresswell

      Erm, no actually

      Apparently the Visa "deal" extends to retail outlets and cash machines in Olympic sites - but never fear! Visa will gladly provide you with a pre-paid card if you haven't seen the light!

      Which is nice of them...

      I'll be the one outside the Olympic park wearing a Mastercard T Shirt

  8. Peter 4

    A bit unfair init

    My neighbour has no credit cards, and no bank account since he went bankrupt.

    So he is excluded from the Oilimpics then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Yes he should be excluded until he paid his debts.

      I thought when one is bankrupt one does not have disposible income for unnecessary things for quite sometime.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Of course he is

      He has no money so why should he be of interest for a bunch of B&D marketers running a B&D marketing event. You can add SM to it yourself by taking "the wrong kind of coke" to the stalls.

  9. NogginTheNog

    Odd phrasing

    "proud to only accept" - why would restricting something make you 'proud'??

    Unless they mean 'proud to trouser the millions Visa are bunging us for the gig'?

  10. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Does everyone think anything goes?

    ...or should some things, like what you eat and drink, and how you pay, be left to personal preference?

    If anything goes, can the BNP purchase the rights for the next official Olympic Racial Group to be Aryan? It was fine at the 1936 Olympics.....

  11. Velv
    Big Brother

    Card ?

    One Card to rule them all, one Card to find them, one Card to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

  12. John Robson Silver badge

    I need a few mastercards and maestros

    And then see how long I can hold the queue up for ;)

  13. Richie G

    Olympics only Visa.

    ... For everything else there's mastercard.

    Mine's the one with the Amex card in the pocket...

    1. chr0m4t1c

      I was thinking the same thing

      Mind you, I'll probably spend about as much on Olympic stuff as I have done in previous years (i.e. nothing), so I don't care.

      I doubt that any of the events will be as compelling as The Reg's comments section when all the fights break out about how crap/brilliant the iPhone 6 is anyway.

      Not that anyone will be able to buy one, since Apple appear to reduce first day stock every new launch there's every chance that only one will be allocated for the whole of the UK.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just two little words...

    'Legal' and 'Tender'.

    1. Andy 115
      Thumb Down

      Who got the courts involved?

      Sorry to piss on your chips but if you look up the definition "Legal Tender" you will discover it to be extremely narrow - something along the lines of money which must be accepted to discharge court imposed fines / debts.

  15. Captain TickTock


    Looks like those mascots could give you a nasty nip with their pincers..

    Troll for mascot!

  16. Mark 21

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Olympics: Showcasing the best of world class sport and exposing the most gut-wrenching aspects of world class capitalism. Can't we have the sport without selling out to the scummy corporations who sponsor it?

  17. Pete 2 Silver badge

    All it needs ...

    is for an enterprising survey to determine that one racial / gender / religious group is under-represented by Visa (not that their applications are declined, maybe just 'coz fewer of them ask for one) and the whole thing could be turned into a media frenzy. If self-righteous media bluster could be turned into an event, we'd undoubtedly win gold, every time. (Just think, golds in both Men's and Women's hypocritical column writing, team events for factual inaccuracies, rabble-rousing and character assassination, and the tabloid equivalent of the triple jump: insinuation, innuendo and implication.)

    Anyway, personally, I don't care as I have no intention of buying anything with an olympic logo on it, nor do I have any desire to watch it - live or on TV.

  18. gimbal
    Black Helicopters

    Probably nicked a tidy profit on the Visa deal

    I'm certain that it's no coincidence that Visa would be the only credit card accepted in the event venues. There's probably some money changed hands, on that - "probably", as in, "I see no question about it, though I do not have the credible proof in my hands, about it." For the goofy mascots and the goofy credit scheme, I'd say, dash it - except for the performances of the athletes, which is the real point of the Olympics, isn't it still? Have we given up on *that* tradition?

    ...and the performances of the fans enjoying the events, I suppose. It begs the question: So which pub will be the first to offer a gold medal in table fusball? or rapid-fire body-shots? Triathlon of pubbery? C'mon, there must be some fun left in the old town...

  19. Lee Dowling Silver badge


    You know what attracts me to a website? Lots of payment options. Hell, I can even pay for my shopping with PayPal on lots of sites now, even things like Maplin's, Dabs, the local pizza delivery and some smaller food stores. I can even buy PayPal / Amazon cards in WHSmith.

    The point is that if you want me to pay for something, you don't want my payment method getting in either of our ways. If you say "Oh, not with that card", that's fine - I'll go elsewhere where they are happy to TAKE MY MONEY. If you want to make it exclusive to a particular card then, to be honest, I won't even bother to ask why.

    It annoyed me when I had a Switch card (back when they were popular) and yet some places *DEMANDED* other cards, no matter how many times you explained to them that it costs no more to accept those cards. The especially annoying ones were the ones that would only take credit cards and not debit cards (So, you don't want money that I'm guaranteed to already have, you want money that may not ever exist?!).

    Phasing out cheques, I can understand that, but this is the equivalent of saying "You can only pay by cheque if it's a HSBC cheque" or similar. Stupid restrictions on how I give you money that I want to give you = greatly reduced chance that I'll *bother* to give you the money. I understand that the Olympics is a unique event but that's even more reason not to profiteer, in the eyes of your customers. If my money isn't good enough for you... no problem... I'll spend it elsewhere instead. I've done that in shops and other places, so I'd be happy to spend my money on going to see something else instead. Somewhere where they take whatever payment method I give them.

    In fact, in one case I wanted to buy something online - my Visa was declined for some strange "security" reason, however the Paypal payment that I did with the same place ten seconds later (funded direct from the same Visa credit card) was accepted and never queried. If they'd insisted I could only pay with Visa, chances are I would have just gone elsewhere for the same product. I have a Visa. I'm not playing on going to the Olympics anyway. But if those things were both the opposite of my situation, I'd change my plans. You really think I'm going to sign up to a credit card just to get into a venue? I wouldn't do that if my local nightclub demanded it, so why the hell would I do that just because it's the Olympics.

    The anti-competitive thing goes without saying but this is just commonsense - if someone wants to give you the entry price in pennies, or by card-guaranteed cheque, or postal order, or banker's draft, or credit card, or debit card, or Paypal or whatever - so long as you think you can verify that payment method enough, why not? This is someone trying to give you MONEY.

  20. The Cube

    Olympic level corruption

    And they are "proud to be corrupt".

    If we went to a former Soviet Union state for the Olympics and discovered that only one brand of credit card was accepted people would be squealing about corruption. When the corrupt arse-wipes selling out the UK for the Olympic waste of time do it apparently they are out and proud.

    "Yes, the Olympic crap shop has sold the right to be the only money of the Olympics to VISA"

    Along with "The Olympic idiots will be shutting down existing local food outlets and restaurants because McDogShit are the official 'food' vendor of the Olympics - best hope the athletes don't have to eat it or none of them will be able to make it round the track without an oxygen mask"

    Can't somebody please get the IOC under a racketeering law somewhere? We know how much the Americans love to export their laws and jurisdiction to countries where it doesn't apply, can't they do something useful for once?

  21. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Olympic Ideals

    Surely in the spirit of the Olympics there should have been some open-to-all competition to decide who the winner is for rights to be the 'official <whatever>'.

    Visa have held the exclusive deal since 1986 and that is set to continue into 2020.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    "Isn't Visa pretty much Universal now anyway? "

    It's universal if your universe's boundaries are defined by UK banks.

    There are still important parts of the world where Maestro is still preferred to Visa Debit. Germany is one I know of (last time I checked). A lot more (non tourist) retail outlets in Germany will accept Maestro than will accept Visa Debit. But the UK banks have (as noted above) indeed switched en masse to Visa Debit rather than Switch/Maestro. Even the prepay debit cards are doing it. Not that there's a cartel going on or anything like that. obviously, because that would be unfair, anti-competitive, and arguably illegal, and our banks wouldn't do that would they, as they are leading lights of the free market economy and indeed of British society. (Pass the sick bag please).

  23. Ricky H

    cashless society

    you fools! you sleepwalked into it!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beastly foreigners

    Will be able to use Mastercards. It's just those of us who are paying for the fiasco won't get a choice in which way we actually pay to see what we built.

  25. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Paris Hilton

    one eye.... Yarrr

    Wenlock and Mandy-vile, are there no limits to the dark lords reach, strange that they both only have one eye...

    Perhaps they should have borrowed the old Viz GnatWest tee-shirt as the official catch phrase "No money, no future, well f**k off then"

    Paris, who also has a one-eyed mascot

  26. /\/\j17

    Cheque please!

    Well I've (not out of choice) now got a Visa Debit card but I'm buggered if I'll be using it while there is an option.

    You won't take my MasterCard? Well I'm going to pay by cheque (and take ages to write it blocking up the till) or cash (with the most inconvenient denominations I can muster).

  27. John Munyard
    Thumb Down

    Corporate stupidity

    I suppose VISA think they're being all very clever with this stitch up but if they piss off non-VISA customers with stunts like this they're hardly likely to make new conquest sales in the future are they?

    As for the London Olympic authority, I would suggest they concentrate on trying to sell the tickets rather that putting barriers in the way. There's a recession on, and there are enough reasons to give this overpriced vanity event a miss already.

  28. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    ahhhhh just what I needed

    a decent sensible reason why the folks and me should not go to the 2012 games

    "sorry love, we have'nt got the right type of credit card"

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Oh, that's all right then

    "But a spokesman for London 2012 said this was nothing new and Visa would be the official card "in the same way as for the Beijing Games in 2008 and the Vancouver Games earlier this year".

    Yes, but over here in Vancouver we thought that was a fookin liberty as well.

    You couldn't use any kind of debit card anywhere in the Olympic venues unless it was a VISA one including your own local bank's card.

    So it's down to carrying lots of cash around then.

    Honesty, all this brand-sponsoring crap really riles me.

    And what the fook is all that about anyway with MacDonald's and Coke?

    Hardly brings the right kind of message to an event promoting fitness and physical prowess.

    More like lard arse and rotten teeth.

  30. John F***ing Stepp

    Hey guys.

    2012 init?

    Not like it's the end of the world and all.

    Oh, wait.

  31. Andrew Martens

    Not a surprise

    This is exactly the same thing that happened in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. No real surprise - sponsorship dollars buy major concessions of this kind. Just wait for the inevitable crackdown on pre-existing local businesses that have "Olympic" in their names.

    1. not.known@this.address

      @Andrew Martens

      The BBC News website 'magazine' had an article about the world cup 'ambush marketing' stunt by the Dutch bints in orange dresses, and tucked down near the bottom were two lists of "keywords" that companies *not* paying the IOC will not be allowed to use together in advertsiments, marketing or merchandise; these include such unusual words and phrases as "gold", "silver", "2012", "Games" and "London"...

      Full article at:

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see it being fine

    Possibly not right, but how many places don't accept AMEX or Diners?

  33. jonathanb Silver badge


    So my Olympics branded Lloyds Mastercard isn't going to work?

    Possibly time for a visit to the Advertising Standards Authority.

  34. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    Nothing new

    As with all 'sports', they have been subsumed by the big corporations. Nothing new here. Move on, please ('please' is optional).

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "how many places don't accept AMEX or Diners?"

    A lot more places I use *don't* accept AMEX/Diners than do accept them. AMEX (don't know Diners) is the payment card of last resort, for those forced to use it by some nice corporate deal where HQ get a nice kickback and the retailer gets ripped off because AMEX take a bigger cut of the transaction than the usual payment companies do.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    O.K. So are you going to pay?

    If you don't approve of the sponsorship deal then how else are the games going to be funded?

    IIRC the main sponsors like Visa pay about £100M each.

    Nose, spite and face come to mind.

    p.s. I think Wenlock and Mandeville are cute!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Still don't hide the fact...

    The original "official logo" looks like Lisa Simpson involved in something that should have seen the overpaid butt-holes behind it getting banged up under the Extreme Pr0n legislation, or whatever it is that covers things that could be kids in, ah, 'adult' situations...

    AC because I ain't gonna be sent down for something that Seb Coe and his cronies should have spotted when the logo was first presented...

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