It looks like Visa might have fallen out of contention for gold in the "2012 Cash-Free Olympics" category.
According to a report at Finextra, a POS terminal failure yesterday at Wembley stadium food kiosks meant that thousands of fans watching the football match between Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates either whipped out their cash or went hungry and thirsty.
To compound the problem, Visa's reduction of the number of ATMs at Olympic venues from 28 to seven Visa-branded terminals meant that just nipping over to the nearest cash machine was no easy alternative.
In a statement, Visa portrayed Wembley's default to cash payment as a "decision" by stadium management. "We understand that Wembley's systems failed and therefore they were only accepting cash at the food and beverage kiosks … This cash-only decision was made by Wembley management and not Visa. We are working with the Wembley team to help them fix this as soon as possible."
However fans were less inclined to lay the blame on Wembley. Said one Finextra reader:
"The Olympic ticket was for two consecutive games — so several hours in the venue. Quite a walletful of cash was needed to feed and water a family. Plus massive queues formed, presumably as the tills didn't have enough change. Some people thought the days of cash were all over, and didn't come prepared for that. Not yet."
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