Visa has teamed with Malaysia's Maybank, wireless carrier Maxis and handset manufacturer Nokia to launch its first commercial contactless mobile payments service.
The deal marks the first time customers can purchase an NFC-enabled phone off the shelf and use it to make Visa payWave-enabled transactions at the point-of-sale.
The commercial roll out follows several m-payments pilot programmes Visa has conducted in various parts of the world.
From today Maybank Visa account holders can download their Visa payWave credit account details directly to the Nokia 6212 classic handsets over the Maxis wireless network.
Once the account has been personalised on the phone, users can make purchases at around 1800 merchant outlets that currently accept Visa payWave in Malaysia.
In addition, customers will be able to pay for charges while using metropolitan transit systems, bus terminals, highway toll gates and car park facilities at more than 3000 contactless payment touch points throughout Malaysia.
"We believe that Visa's NFC mobile payment launch in Malaysia signals a tipping point for the payments industry globally as we move from mobile payment pilots to commercial availability," says Elizabeth Buse, global head of product, Visa.
"The launch of Visa's first commercial NFC program in Malaysia is based on Visa's experience gained from undertaking extensive pilot activities around the globe and is something Visa plans to replicate in other places around the world."
Meanwhile Singapore's Network for Electronic Transfers (Nets) has struck a deal with three local banks to launch a contactless card that can be used for transit, ERP, car park payments and retail purchases at around 35,000 points throughout the country.
The card - being rolled out in partnership with DBS, Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB) - combines debit and stored value functionality.
Consumers can top up the stored value part of the card at the point of sale, with the funds being transferred from their debit account. Nets is also rolling out top up terminals in customer homes.
News of the Malaysia and Singapore programmes comes as a new study from Frost & Sullivan suggests the contactless payments market in Asia Pacific will weather the economic storm.
According to the report, the Asia Pacific contactless smart card market earned revenues of $769.4 million in 2008 and is expected to hit $1356.0 million in 2014.
The research suggests that while countries that have not yet achieved mass deployment of contactless smart cards could experience further delays, more advanced countries such as Japan and South Korea that possess strong infrastructure and high penetration rates are unlikely to slow down drastically.