Visa International is teaming with UFJ Nicos, the credit card arm of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, to develop branded mobile payments and settlement services for its Japanese cardholders.
According to local press reports, UFJ Nicos will allow Visa to use its SmartPlus mobile phone-based settlement technology free of charge, and the two firms will set up a new company to manage the service.
UFJ Nicos launched its SmartPlus contactless IC credit payment scheme in 2005. The service - which is available on all the Japanese mobile phone networks - enables customers to pay for purchases using mobile phones embedded with a special IC chip.
The Japanese firm says the deal with Visa will boost the number of customers using its SmartPlus system to two million, while the number of merchants offering the service will grow to 100,000 by 2008.
The news follows last week's annoucement that Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo is acquiring an 18% stake in card issuer UC Card from Mizuho Bank in a bid to expand the range of mobile payments services available to its customers.