Visa Europe partners Wireless Dynamics on contactless iPhone payments

Visa Europe partners Wireless Dynamics on contactless iPhone payments

Visa Europe has teamed with NFC specialist Wireless Dynamics on a system that turns iPhones into contactless mobile payments systems.

The system requires iPhone users to attach Wireless Dynamics' iCarte accessory - provided by participating banks and mobile operators - that contains an antenna and an embedded 'Secure Element' where the Visa mobile 'card' is stored. The card works in conjunction with a companion Visa mobile application that can be downloaded from the App store.

Once the Visa mobile card is activated, users can make purchases by launching the app and touching their iPhone on any contactless-enabled point of sale terminal across Europe.

The pair have already teamed with Yapi Kredi bank and Turkcell to launch the system in Turkey while a UK trial is taking place with Visa staff in London with partners FIS and Coventry Building Society.

Sandra Alzetta, SVP, head, innovation, Visa Europe, says: "Given that the availability of a wide range of mobile devices supporting contactless services remains a key hurdle for take-up, we are overcoming this obstacle by bringing the capability to the iPhones already in their pockets."

In the US, Visa is working with another vendor, DeviceFidelity, on a system that turns handsets into contactless payments devices using In2Pay Micro-SD chips inserted into memory card slots. Bank of America, US Bancorp and Wells Fargo are all running trials with the technology.

It is also widely expected that the iPhone 5 will come with built-in contactless payments functionality, with the firm recently hiring NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as product manager for mobile commerce.

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 January, 2011, 11:46Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Visa Europe - as in Visa we-provide-the-most-insecure-card-authentication-software-in-the-world Visa?

The rush into NFC is too market-driven to have been properly secured. I really fear it will bring about an escalation in fraud paid for by consumers through higher rates and charges.

Simple non-authenticated transaction methods may turn out to be just a way for a criminal to get at your money quicker.

A technology fail.


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 January, 2011, 19:16Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Mobile owners are unlikely to plug a fairly unattractive add-on into the bottom of their mobile to use an iPhone (3GS or 4) for payments.

It is widely speculated that the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 will have NFC built-in - it would be fair more economical to wait for handsets to have the functionality in-built to the Device - and focus attention on intra-operability and user experience.  If the software isn't user-friendly for the average consumer it will remain niche and attract very limited volumes.

I'd expect Visa, MasterCard, China UnionPay, American Express, JCB - to join together and plan how they are to tackle Mobile as a consolidated platform for m-Services (Payments, Commerce, Banking).  By having an open standard - a user client with a consistent look and feel on all devices - whilst maintaining easy and straightforward use - that is the ultimate way forward.

Mobile devices and Telco Networks are now at the point at which they can support these advanced services.  Focus and attention must be paid to how this will be secured to safe-guard consumers.