Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and Visa Europe1 today announced the commercial availability of mobile contactless payments enabled by DeviceFidelity's In2Pay microSD solution. For the first time in Visa's history, a mobile contactless payment solution is now included in the list of Visa compliant products available for potential commercial deployment by financial institutions in the U.S. and select markets.
Following 18 months of technology development in partnership with Texas-based DeviceFidelity, and trials with leading financial institutions in the United States, Europe and Asia, Visa has tested and supports commercialization of In2Pay microSD for use with leading smart phones.
Smartphone models compatible for use with this landmark technology include the BlackBerry® BoldTM 96502, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and the Android based Samsung Vibrant Galaxy 5, representing three of the leading mobile operating systems in the world. Visa expects to add additional phone models for use with this technology, including phones based on the Symbian and Windows operating systems.
"This is a historic milestone for Visa and its clients," said Bill Gajda, head of Visa Mobile. "In addition to issuing plastic magnetic stripe or chip-enabled payment cards, financial institutions can now consider offering their account holders a new technology that enables them to transform their existing phones into fully functional mobile payment devices."
From Trials to Commercial Availability
The compliance testing process for mobile devices established by Visa includes extensive technical, security and usability testing with respect to the Visa mobile payment functionality. It ensures reliable and secure Visa transactions that are compatible with the global standard for chip-enabled payments, and establishes a required signal range for all mobile contactless payments. Visa's compliance testing process ensures the combination of the phone; secure chip and mobile payment application will provide the level of user experience Visa accountholders have come to expect from Visa.
The microSD payment technology has been developed in partnership with DeviceFidelity and had previously been available only to financial institutions who were participating with Visa in mobile payment trials including some of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. - JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo Bank, US Bancorp and Bank of America. Now, Visa issuers can obtain the technology under Visa's standard contract terms and can load the Visa mobile payment application to microSD cards.
Issuers who choose to adopt the technology can provide their account holders with a tiny microSD card that can be inserted into the phone's existing memory slot to enable the device for payment. The technology is compatible with existing contactless payment terminals already installed at retail outlets worldwide and enables account holders to simply hold the phone in front a payment terminal in order to pay.
This technology also opens the way for mobile operators, retailers and other stakeholders in the payments ecosystem to partner with financial institutions to bring Visa mobile payment functionality to consumers.
"This is a significant step towards the next generation of payments, loyalty and rewards, allowing banks and retailers to build entirely new business models," said Nick Holland, Senior Analyst with Yankee Group. "Visa's announcement clearly illustrates that the future of payments will be mobile."
Financial Institutions have the option to integrate Visa's mobile payment solution into their existing mobile application, and offer additional services such as Visa transaction alerts that notify account holders in near real-time of account activity, and targeted merchant offers that are tailored to consumer lifestyle and location. Together, these services have the potential to enhance the consumer payment experience and allow account holders to better manage their payment accounts.
"This is a win-win for banks, merchants, wireless carriers, handset makers, app developers and consumers alike as it delivers a unique combination of consumer preferred devices, smart chip based security and application driven innovation, something that the NFC ecosystem has aspired for a long time," said Deepak Jain, President and CEO of DeviceFidelity, Inc. "Working with Visa and its financial institution partners, we are excited to be at the forefront of this important milestone and helping to make mobile payments a reality for consumers."
With nearly 5 billion mobile handsets in market around the globe, consumers everywhere have come to rely on their mobile phone as a part of everyday life. According to IDC3, smart phone shipments globally are expected to increase 24% in 2011, helping drive continued growth in more robust and powerful mobile devices that are capable of supporting contactless payment.
"Mobile payments are a strategic priority for Visa in Europe where we have played a leadership role in developing the market," commented Sandra Alzetta, Head of Innovation at Visa Europe. "We are delighted that the hard work we've invested in market trials has paid off. With this milestone, we can help our customers enter the mobile payment space on a commercial basis, offering valuable and exciting benefits to consumers."