Using Visa cards at the Olympics
- Which banks offer Visa debit cards
- The best credit cards to use at the Olympics
- Prepaid cards as an alternative to debit and credit cards
Paying for goods and withdrawing cash at the Olympic Games in 2012
Visa will be the exclusive payment card at the Games, so if you want to buy goods by card at the London venues, you'll need a Visa-branded debit, credit or prepaid card. Visa plans to install hundreds of point-of-sale acceptance devices at London venues, as well as an ATM network. Cash will also be accepted in the Olympic park and venues.
Visa debit cards
Most UK banks issue Visa debit cards with their current accounts, so chances are you've already got access to a Visa card for the Olympics. Few bank accounts now use the MasterCard/Maestro network. Those that do include Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks and Metro Bank.
To get the best current account for you, whether you're usually in credit or overdrawn, read Which? bank account reviews.
Visa credit cards
If your current account doesn't come with a Visa debit card and you don't want to switch, it's worth getting a Visa credit card. The credit card market splits roughly 50/50 between Visa and MasterCard.
To spread your Olympics spending over a year or more without paying any interest, get a Best Rate 0% purchases credit card. If you prefer to pay off your bill every month, a cashback or reward credit cardwill pay you for using the card. Make sure you choose a Visa-branded credit card, rather than a MasterCard if you want to use it for Olympics purchases.
Don't use your credit card to withdraw cash though as almost every card provider will charge you interest from the moment you make the withdrawal, and often at a higher interest rate than you'd usually pay. There is no interest-free period on cash withdrawals.
Visa prepaid cards
Prepaid cards can be very useful for budgeting: you preload the card with cash and you can only spend what is on the card. Prepaid cards are also suitable if you want to give money to your children or other relatives to spend, but don't want them to have a credit card or carry large amounts of cash.
Prepaid cards are usually either on the Visa or MasterCard network. As with other cards, you'll need to choose a Visa-branded prepaid card if you want to use it for buying Olympics tickets. However, charges vary enormously between prepaid cards - many card providers impose fees for getting, loading and using the card. Choose a Visa-network prepaid card from Which? prepaid card reviews to get the best deal.