I am staggered by the news that UK credit card holders will only be able to buy tickets for the Olympic games using a Visa card. Those with a Mastercard or Amex card will not be able to use it either to buy tickets or at the terminals and cash machines in the Olympic venues. What on earth is going on?
This sounds like one of the most blatant anti-competitive measures that I’ve heard about recently. Forcing thousands of people to use Visa cards, or to get one, just so that they can buy things at the Olympics, or even buy their tickets, is disgraceful.
In this age of competition and free markets (supposedly), we are telling the world at our one major opportunity to showcase what the UK is all about, that we actually don’t support free market economies and condone anti-competitive activities.
Obviously the Olympic and ParaOlympic games committees have agreed this deal with Visa purely to get a substantial amount of sponsorship money, and I guess that those committees are struggling to raise sufficient funds, but adopting this measure must be making a laughing stock out of the UK.
Non UK card holders will be able to use whatever credit cards they like. Imagine a conversation like this happening in the long queues at the tills:
“You look Italian, sir, so sure you can use your Mastercard – oops, sorry its been rejected by our terminal as it says that you are actually from Manchester!”
Maybe there shouldn’t be long queues as people should object very strongly to this ridiculous and damaging decision. Or people should load their shopping baskets up and say “sorry, I only have Mastercard with me.” when challenged by the credit card police at the tills.
Which? is campaigning against this and will hopefully berate the government to stop this anti-competitive nonsense. Lets hope they succeed, but is there any way we can add our voices to the campaign too?