Visa USA president and CEO John Coghlan has called for closer collaboration between the payment card and mobile industries in order to realise the full potential for convergence between the two markets. The call comes as the card company unveils strategic investments in mobile software firm Ecrio and the .mobi consortium.
Speaking to delegates at the CTIA Wireless conference in Orlando, Coghlan said mobile payment was at a "critical moment in its development".
"Given the striking similarities in the paths our two industries have traveled, it is only natural we have arrived at a moment of convergence," Coghlan said. "The convergence of payments and mobile communications is not just logical - it is inevitable."
Coghlan detailed the steps Visa is taking to advance mobile payments, including an undisclosed investment in Dublin-based dotMobi - a consortimum of mobile operators, handset manufacturers and Internet content providers that offers the .mobi domain name.
In a statement Patrick Gauthier, SVP, innovation, Visa International, says the alliance with dotMobi "puts us at the forefront of working with mobile operators and technology providers to develop practical and achievable best practices for the delivery of enhanced mobile commerce services".
Visa has also invested in Ecrio, a California-based provider of software for mobile phones on 3G networks. Ecrio says it will use the funding - details of which were not disclosed - to develop its near field communications-based offering and MoBeam, its patented mobile barcode redemption technology, which transmits barcodes from handsets to point-of-sale terminals.
The latest investments follow a string of recent alliances struck by Visa in the mobile arena with firms such as VeriSign, Kyocera Wireless and Qualcomm.