Visa develops payment spec for contactless smart cards

Visa develops payment spec for contactless smart cards

Visa has developed a new payment specification for contactless chip cards, removing the need to physically insert a smart card into a reader.

Visa says the new specification, designed to work side-by-side with conventional chip and magnetic stripe technologies, will support the cross-over of payment cards into the contactless arena.

Sue Gordon-Lathrop, vice president, emerging consumer environments, at Visa International, says: "This new technology removes the need to insert or swipe a payment card making it easier to pay in places where speed and convenience are important."

The most common use for contactless technology has been in transit systems, particularly in Europe and Asia. Future applications could include parking, vending machines, service stations, as well as locations where payment cards have been less widely accepted, such as fast food restaurants, says Gordon-Lanthrop.

Based on an international standard, ISO 14443, the new specification uses a chip embedded in a plastic card or an electronic device, such as a mobile phone. The card, mobile phone or other device is then held in front of a terminal and a wireless interface transits the payment information.

The spec is expected to get its first outing in Korea, where telecommunications company SK Telecom has been working with Visa to test the viability of infrared payment for mobile phone users.

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