Visa Prepares for Visitors to Russia for 2018 FIFA World Cup

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By Dipo Olowookere

Ahead of the football tournament scheduled for Russia next year, Visa, the Official Payment Service Partner of FIFA, the world governing body for the game, said it was ready for the projected 500,000 visitors expected to attend the global event.

To show its readiness, Visa recently released travel and spending data for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Throughout official FIFA venues, Visa will enable a cash-free fan experience by implementing point-of-sale terminals that accept a Visa credit or debit card and a range of digital payments, such as those made via phone or watch.

According to the payment system firm, these enhancements ensure official FIFA venues are equipped with the latest in payment innovation and are ready for the increase in expected international visitors to Russia.

Based on spending trends and insights from Visa, it is projected that Russia will host an additional 300,000 to 500,000 international visitors during the months of June and July 2018, on top of a baseline average of 4.3 million total international visitors to Russia during that same time period over the past four years.

Based on historical data from the previous four FIFA World Cup tournaments, Visa projects foreign visitors to Russia will represent a 6 to 10 percent increase in foreign visitors to the country in June and July 2018. The largest share of non-native travellers to Russia is forecast to come from Europe (69 percent), Asia Pacific (12 percent) and Americas (8 percent).

Based on historical data from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Visa anticipates Russia can expect to see an increase in per traveller spending.

On average, visitors attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil spent 31 percent more per card than regular tourists in Brazil. Visa projects this difference was a result of FIFA World Cup fans spending over 25 percent more at restaurants, over 10 percent more on transportation, and close to 10 percent more on lodging.

“As the Official Payment Service Partner of FIFA, Visa is excited for fans all over the world to join us in Russia,” said Ekaterina Petelina, country manager, Visa Russia. “From unveiling the latest payment innovations to upgrading payment terminals to allow for contactless cards and digital payments, such as those made via phone or watch, throughout official venues, Visa will continue to elevate the fan experience. Visa provides simple and secure payment options for those in attendance, so they can get back to their seats quickly and focus on the match.”

Global ticket sales for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia continue to perform well, as FIFA recently reported that close to 800,000 tickets have been sold so far to the FIFA World Cup global fan base.

Nearly 50 percent of the ticketing demand is coming from the host country, Russia, with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States making up the largest number of international requests.

To ensure fans have a seamless and secure payment experience when attending the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Visa said it developed the following recommended travel tips that fans can take advantage of.

Know Before You Go to Russia

Notify your issuing bank or financial institution of anticipated travel plans, including use of Visa debit, credit or prepaid cards abroad to avoid any issues while processing transactions. Issuing banks can also provide information about travel-related benefits for Visa account holders, including opt-in mobile services, such as Mobile Location Confirmation through your bank’s mobile app or Visa’s Travel Authorization Tag.

Register for SMS notifications with your specific bank, or the bank’s transaction notification service, to track purchases made on your Visa accounts as you travel.

Set up automatic bill pay for any credit cards to give you some peace-of-mind that your account will be current while traveling abroad.

Make two copies of important travel documents, namely your passport, in case of emergency. Leave one copy with a friend or relative and carry the other separate from your original documents. You can also take a photo with your cellphone of important documents.

Travel Tips for Fans in Russia

When paying by card, pay in “local currency” for a competitive exchange rate.

Use a credit or debit card for purchases. Visa offers security, convenience and ease when paying abroad. It is safer than carrying cash.

Whenever possible, pay through a chip-activated terminal when using your credit or debit card for enhanced security.

Look for the Visa or PLUS logo at any point-of-sale terminal to ensure international payment cards are accepted.

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