ATMs at nine London Olympics venues to be turned off as part of Visa
's exclusivity arrangement as a sponsorTicketholders attending the Olympics should expect long queues to get money out at venues after 27 cash machines at sites such as Wembley are replaced by eight Visa ATMs.Visa confirmed that it was replacing the existing cash machines at various Olympic sites with machines running on its own system as part of its exclusivity arrangement as a sponsor. The move means people with Mastercard credit or debit cards will not be able to use the ATMs to withdraw money.ATMs will be switched off at the Excel Centre, Earl's Court, North Greenwich Arena, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon, Old Trafford, St James' Park and the City of Coventry Stadium. A number of the existing machines charge users a fee to withdraw money. The replacement Visa ones will be free to use.Retailers at the Olympic sites will be accepting contactless payments, and much has been made of the 2012 Games being a "cashless Olympics".Ron Delnevo, the managing director of Bank Machine, the largest operator of free and fee-charging ATMS, condemned the move. He said it would leave the Olympics "cash-starved by design"."The vast majority of people attending the Games, from over 200 countries, have no interest in becoming guinea pigs in product launches by sponsors," he said. "They are gathering to celebrate sporting excellence and should be allowed to do so, unhindered by the commercial manoeuvring of sponsors."The Payments Council, which oversees all payment services in the UK, said it could not comment on Visa's move. "It really is a matter for Locog [the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games]. It's up to them what they do with regard to sponsors."Disabling the ATMs will make it harder for visitors to find somewhere to withdraw cash, but Visa said it expected many to bring money with them."Debit cards have overtaken cash as the most popular way to pay for goods in the UK," a Visa spokeswoman said. "We expect people to use a mixture of cash and cards to pay once they are inside the Games' venues."Almost 97% of debit cards in use in the UK are Visa-branded. There are likely to be fewer overseas visitors holding a Visa card, but no official figures are available.Visa would not comment on how much revenue it expected to generate from ATM exclusivity.Debit cardsOlympic Games 2012Credit cardsBanks and building societiesConsumer affairsLisa Bachelorguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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