Visa, an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, reports that tourists at the Games spent over $700 million during the opening week alone, with visitors from the US racking up the most charges, at over $85 million. Visa has ranked users’ spending according to category and reports that “services” and “entertainment” were the biggest ticket items at the Olympics this week.
During the opening week of the Olympics, visitors spent an estimated $700 million on their Visa cards, reports Visa Inc headquarters.
Visa, an official sponsor of the London Olympic Games, had previously taken heat for restricting ATM access for non-Visa holders, but since Games-goers had to use a Visa card to buy their Olympic tickets anyway, it seems likely that most London visitors in town for the 2012 Games didn’t have a problem.
Spending was brisk, with “services” garnering the top spending spot with a whopping $133.7. That category includes things like shoe repair, jewelry repair, and spa visits. Coming in second at $95.5 million, was entertainment, including theater tickets and other attractions, just in case the Games themselves didn’t provide enough entertainment value. Airline spending was $82.9 million, “other retailers” saw $71.8 million in purchases, and hotels came in last place, with $69.3 million in US dollars charged to Visa cards.
Foreign Fees and VIPs
With visitors flocking the London from around the globe, many credit card users – Visa members or otherwise – may go home to find foreign transaction fees listed on their credit card statements. Many cards charge these fees, which are usually between two and five percent of the purchase price and average three percent, but experienced international travelers usually know to look for a credit card that doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee.
Many of Visa’s premium cards – the ones under the premier “Visa Signature” label – do not charge any foreign transaction fees. The British Airways Visa Signature Card, for example, doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Visa Signature cards also come with Visa’s outstanding concierge service, which offers card holders 24/7 assistance – something that comes in very handy when traveling, especially overseas.
What kinds of services does concierge service provide? “With just a call to Visa’s concierge line, customers can not only have dinner reservations made, they can get a recommendation for where to have dinner. If guests have allergies or other food restrictions, they can have the Visa concierge specialist look up restaurants that will cater to their needs. If card holders need to know the location of the closest pharmacy, dry cleaner, or 24-hour locksmith, concierge service can help them out.” – says Roman Shteyn, founder of credit card comparison site Credit-Land.com
Who spend the most on their Visa credit cards during the first week at the Olympics? The United States took the gold in the top spending category, shelling out $85.5 million, and Japan took a distant second place, securing the silver medal in spending with $50.9 million spent. In third place, France won the bronze medal with $41.5 million charged to Visa cards, shutting Italy out of the top three spots by only two million dollars. Italy’s $39.5 million total made a far better showing than Sweden’s $23.4 million, which rounded out the top ten Visa-spending countries at the London Olympics this week.
Kevin Burke, CMO of core products at Visa, said in a press release, “as a proud sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games for 26 years, Visa worked closely with the United Kingdom’s tourism and government bodies to ensure a safe, convenient and reliable experience for those traveling to the Olympic Games to cheer on their team and country. With more than 3,000 contactless terminals installed across Olympic Games venues . . . the Olympic Games gives Visa an opportunity to extend its sponsorship to directly benefit account holders worldwide.”