MWC 2012: Visa Announce NFC-Enabled Mobile Payment Solution

Visa has announced a one-stop mobile payment solution which utilises mobile NFC, a move that is hoped will push the technology one step closer towards mainstream acceptance.

The financial services giant made the announcement at Mobile World Congress yesterday and provided details of its partnership with Oberthur Technologies (a software company who specialise in the provisioning and activation of payment accounts on cards and mobile devices) in order to develop the system.

It’s expected to build on the payWave contactless payment system by enabling financial institutions to wirelessly link Visa accounts with NFC-enabled devices. The service will then act as a digital wallet for the customer in order to allow transactions via Near Field Communication, without the need for chip and PIN or other traditional payment methods.

Visa’s involvement in the service will include a compliance system whereby manufacturers will need to gain individual handset approval from Visa before being permitted to include the system on their devices.

It is yet to be revealed what exactly will be involved in Visa’s compliance testing for devices, but we suspect this caveat has been put in place to instil consumer confidence in what is, in the UK, not considered a trustworthy payment method.

Aside from select areas and events (such as the Olympics), NFC is yet to be adopted on a national scale in the British Isles. But with countries such as Japan and the USA starting to see widespread use of the technology and Visa stating that they intend to phase out magnetic-striped cards by 2013, it seems safe to assume that NFC will become much more commonplace on these shores over the next few years.

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