Buy food, water or even a souvenir bearing the image of Paris 2024: yes, but only with a Visa. Bank cards from this payment system will be the only ones accepted at the Olympic and Paralympic Games sites this summer, Visa being a global partner of the Olympic Committee. To manage transactions during the competition, the company will deploy 4,500 payment terminals, explains its general manager Europe Charlotte Hogg in L’Équipe, this Wednesday March 6.

Spectators who have a Mastercard (or other) bank card will therefore not be able to use it. You will then have to pay in cash. And this is not new: Visa has been a partner of the Olympic Games since 1986 and is the only electronic payment method accepted at each edition. The British press was already complaining about this for London in 2012. The only exception: the Beijing Winter Games in 2022, where digital yuan transactions were also accepted.

But times are changing and cash is used less and less: in only 50% of payments at French points of sale in 2022, according to the European Central Bank, compared to 68% in 2016. To the point that many French people often do not even more species on them. However, there is no question of depriving them of the opportunity to consume on the Olympic sites. “There will be around sixty ATMs on all sites,” specifies Charlotte Hogg, so that spectators without a Visa card can withdraw cash to spend.

For those who fear monstrous queues at ATMs, Visa will also offer to “purchase a prepaid Visa card on each site” to spend it with sellers. These prepaid cards will also be available in a dematerialized version “directly on your phone, via an application launched for the occasion,” explains Charlotte Hogg. They can even be used outside competition venues or for e-commerce “as with any card”.