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Visa takes steps to expand contactless mobile payments commercially

December 13, 2010

 A consumers makes a contactless payment with an iPhone at the San Francisco Giants AT&T Park

A consumer makes a contactless payment with an iPhone at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park

Visa Inc. has made mobile contactless payments available commercially for various smartphones via DeviceFidelity Inc.’s In2Pay microSD platform.

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 smartphones. 

“For the first time in Visa’s history, a mobile contactless payment platform 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,” said Dave Wentker, San Francisco-based head of mobile contactless payments at Visa.

“This advances Visa’s goals to bring mobile contactless payments to consumers in key markets across the globe where retailers are already accepting contactless payments,” said.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to digital currency.

DeviceFidelity develops plug-and-play technologies that empower a variety of institutions to deploy their services and applications on millions of mobile phones worldwide.

Its patent-pending In2Pay microSD and In2Pay iCaisse platforms transform mobile phones into an interactive contactless transaction device.

Making contactless mobile payments a reality
Smartphone models compatible for use with this technology include Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Bold 9650, Apple’s iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G, and Google’s Android-based Samsung Vibrant Galaxy S.

Visa expects to add additional phone models for use with this technology, including phones based on Nokia’s Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating systems.

In addition to issuing plastic magnetic stripe or chip-enabled payment cards, financial institutions can now consider offering their accountholders 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 accountholders to simply hold the phone in front a payment terminal in order to pay.

This technology also opens the way for carriers, retailers and other stakeholders in the payments ecosystem to partner with financial institutions to bring Visa mobile payment functionality to consumers.

Financial institutions have the option to integrate Visa’s mobile payment platform 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 accountholders to better manage their payment accounts, per Visa.

With nearly 5 billion mobile handsets in market worldwide, consumers everywhere have come to rely on their mobile phone as a part of everyday life.

According to IDC, worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to increase 24 percent in 2011, helping drive continued growth in more robust and powerful mobile devices that are capable of supporting contactless payment.


Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Visa’s Mr. Wentker. Here is what he had to say:

What challenges does DeviceFidely’s In2Pay address for Visa, its financial institution partners and their customers? Why was its microSD platform selected?
MicroSD has the potential to accelerate the adoption of mobile contactless payments.

With few fully integrated NFC devices in market today, MicroSD enables consumers to use their existing mobile devices to make Visa mobile payments at merchant locations with contactless acceptance.

Frankly, it is simple, secure and convenient.

For merchants this means the investment in contactless acceptance enables them to also accept mobile payments.

For financial institutions, the technology enables them to offer an innovative payment product by mobilizing existing accounts and allows them to integrate mobile payments and banking. 
With which carriers, retailers and financial institutions has Visa worked with on the trials of the mobile contactless payments platform?
This mobile contactless payment technology is the result of 18 months of development in partnership with DeviceFidelity and has been successfully proven in trials with financial institution partners in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

In the U.S. market Visa is working with four of the largest financial institutions that issue Visa products: Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, US Bank and JP Morgan Chase.

Worldwide, Visa is actively working with about 20 wireless carriers to advance mobile financial services in both emerging and developed economies.

What is the outlook for mobile contactless payments in 2011?
We are looking forward to advancing mobile payments in North America through fully integrated NFC and microSD technology in 2011.
Visa has established a new compliance-testing process for mobile contactless payments that includes extensive technical, security and usability testing of the Visa payment functionality.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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