Visa International has developed specifications to enable payments to be beamed securely from a handheld device to a merchant terminal using infrared technology.
Working with the Infrared Data Association and its Infrared Financial Messaging Group, Visa has published an implementation guide for 'proximity payments' that specifies protocols for secure payments. These are intended to help application developers and card issuers to develop new payment services for consumers who use portable devices such as mobile phones and handheld computers.
Sue Gordon-Lathrop, vice president, emerging consumer environments at Visa International, comments: "The Infrared Financial Messaging Group has developed an interoperable standard for payment and Visa has customised this standard to meet specific Visa requirements. Now that we have specifications in place, developers will be able to build applications confident that they will conform to Visa requirements.”
Visa says there are 150 million devices worldwide capable of infrared messaging. The ability to beam payments using such devices is expected to be popular in those locations that cater specifically to people who are travelling or in a hurry, such as taxis, parking garages, and fast food restaurants.
The new Visa specifications are built upon the Point and Pay protocol developed by the Infrared Financial Messaging Group. The Group consists of representatives from the financial services and technology industries including Palm, Verifone, Extended Systems, and Zilog.
Ron Brown, executive director, Infrared Data Association, says “Infrared financial messaging - or Point and Pay - protocol allows for the effective implementation of wireless payment card transactions at the point-of-sale on a worldwide basis. Without Visa International's invaluable participation, along with other key IrDA members, we would never have been able to complete this ground breaking wireless payment standard and make it available to the general public at this time."
Visa carried out the world’s first infrared payment transaction a year ago proving that the technology was capable of supporting such services. The new Visa specifications will ensure that adequate security is in place to prevent ‘eavesdropping’ as information is beamed between device and payment terminal. In addition, access controls, ranging from software security measures to EMV smart cards embedded within the portable device, prevent unauthorised access to payment information stored on the device.
The specifications will be available from 21 January at www.visa.com/specs-downloads.