Business Wire

Visa Readies Digital Payments for the Projected 500,000 Visitors Traveling to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™


In celebration of the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Visa (NYSE: V), the Official Payment Service Partner of FIFA, 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.

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 visitors1 during the months of June and July 2018, on top of a baseline average of 4.3 million total international visitors2 to Russia during that same time period over the past four years.

Based on historical data1 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 travelers to Russia are forecast to come from:

  • Europe (69 percent)
  • Asia Pacific (12 percent)
  • Americas (8 percent)

Based on historical data3 from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, Visa anticipates Russia can expect to see an increase in per traveler spending. On average, visitors attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ spent 31 percent more3 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
  • 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 reported4 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 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.

As the Official Payment Service Partner of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Visa will be celebrating the spirit of football in Russia and is looking forward to showcasing the future of digital payments with fans from all over the globe. For additional information on Visa’s sponsorship of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, visit


Visa International Travel (VISIT) platform is a proprietary model that combines Visa's cardholder data with publicly-available cross-border arrival statistics. The database provides a comprehensive view into high-frequency cross-border travel flows, currently encompassing the top 82 origin and destination countries, which collectively account for more than 80 percent of global travel. VISIT combines unique counts of Visa cardholders that register a face-to-face transaction at a merchant outside their home country in a given calendar month with other transaction data such as average spend per cardholder, card usage patterns at lodging merchants and others. Visa uses this data to econometrically model official arrival statistics compiled by various government sources and to generate estimates that fill in the large gaps existing in the cross-border travel data.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit, and @VisaNews.

1 Estimate based on the Visa International Travel (VISIT) platform, 2002-2014.

2 Visa International Travel (VISIT) platform, four-year average, 2014-2017.

3 VisaNet 2014.

4 See for more information about ticket sales for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

Contact information

Visa Inc.
Sheerin Salimi

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