Visa and SK Telecom partner for infrared mobile payments

Visa and SK Telecom partner for infrared mobile payments

Visa International and Korea's SK Telecom have teamed up to launch a new wireless payment system using EMV (Europay/MasterCard/Visa) smart card and infrared technology.

The wireless payment solution integrates the EMV global smart card standard with IrFM (Infrared Financial Messaging), the global interoperable standard for infrared transmission.

The system will allow Visa cardholders and SKT subscribers to pay for goods and services by beaming an infrared signal securely from the mobile phone to a small infrared receiver located at retail point-of-sale terminals, vending machines, subway stalls, tollgates, buses and other payment locations. The cardholder’s payment details are stored securely on an EMV chip within the handset.

Since 8 April 2002, SKT has been piloting a chip-based payment service using an infrared-enabled mobile phone both at the company's headquarters and with 20 merchants at the Seoul Finance Center. Later this year the programme will be rolled out to more than 30,000 merchants in Korea. Two million infrared-enabled handsets will also be distributed by end of this year.

Mark Burbidge, senior vice president and general manager, e-Visa Asia Pacific, says: “The payment industry is undergoing a major transition from the use of magnetic stripe cards to EMV smart cards. These provide greater security and give customers a wide range of new payment functions. Visa and SKT are using the extra capabilities of smart cards to enable Visa cardholders to make payments with their mobile devices easily and securely.”

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts the market for mobile commerce in Asia Pacific will reach $36 billion by 2004.

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