Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Olympic spectators in Torino, Italy to pay half the U.S. interchange rate. Why? (

[repost, 2-15-06] The Italian name for one of the charming Olympic emblems is "Neve." Because of Visa's role as Olympic partner, the English translation should be "Nerve," as in the nerve or audacity of the world's largest credit card company to charge people in the United States nearly twice the interchange fee as in Italy. One Visa U.S.A. Olympic TV spot asks, "What are you waiting for?" We ask them the very same question.

Ticket sales to the Winter Olympics are dismal and, according to a Jan 13th Wall Street Journal editorial, there will be near empty grandstands and there are fears that the "whole caboodle could go bankrupt."

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that "The Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, have generated such little buzz that there are still thousands of tickets unsold and plenty of hotel vacancies."

As a worldwide sponsor and global partner of the Olympic Games, this might be Visa International's lesser problem. Another concern is why the world's leading payment solutions organization charges merchants in Torino, Italy nearly half* the interchange fees faced by retailers in the United States?

Click here to view recent postings on Italian interchange fees.


* source: July 2005, NACS Magazine, page 22, "Card Costs 2004, MPC"