LIVE FROM MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS: Visa is joining forces with Samsung in an alliance that is designed to encourage the take-up of mobile payments via NFC-based smartphones.
Financial institutions planning to launch m-payments services can use a new Visa service that securely downloads user’s account information to NFC- based Samsung handsets.
The alliance will also place Visa payWave applets on Samsung’s next generation of NFC-based mobile devices. The applets enable consumers to make contactless payments in locations such as shops and restaurants.
Visa’s global head of product, Jim McCarthy said “the key to making mobile payments broadly available all over the world” is offering financial institutions “a secure way to provision millions of smartphones with payment account information”.
The new service is called the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service.
Visa is in discussions with banks interested in its service but would not reveal any names.
Dr Won-Pyo Hong, Samsung’s president and head of its media solution center, said the partnership with Visa “represents a step towards a global mobile payment platform”.
The partners claim the alliance is “a first of its kind” between a NFC handset vendor and payment network.
The arrangement is non-exclusive so Visa could strike similar deals with rival vendors (or Samsung could team up with other credit card firms).
Samsung will offer banks the ability to load payment account information over the air to a secure chip embedded in its devices, using Visa’s new provisioning service. The service is linked to Samsung’s KMS, or key management system, that creates secure data storage domains for card issuers.
The Visa payWave applet will be preloaded onto selected Samsung mobile devices featuring NFC and an embedded secure element.
When purchased, these devices are ready to be personalised with Visa-based payment accounts, which consumers will do with an app provided by their financial institution.
How this new alliance fits with Visa’s existing relationships with mobile operators will be interesting. At last year’s congress, it announced a payments partnership with Vodafone across the operator’s extensive global footprint. Visa also unveiled an alliance with Orange at last year’s event, although it focused on payments in emerging markets.
Although the current alliance is slated as being global, NFC-based handsets are usually targeted at wealthier markets in Europe and Asia, as well as the US.
Visa could use the same service provisioning mechanism to work with other industry sectors, for instance transport or home security.
Visa will demonstrate its PayWave applet and new provisioning service during congress.
Separately, Visa has announced that Roam is the first mobile commerce provider to participate in the Visa Ready Partner Program, which was announced at the end of last week. The programme is a means for devices and services to comply with Visa’s requirement, which may vary between countries.