Telefonica Digital and Visa Europe have announced a partnership to jointly develop m-commerce services across the mobile operator’s European footprint.  The two companies will co-invest in developing services in areas such as mobile wallets, NFC, turning mobile devices into point of sale terminals and merchant offers.

Telefonica and Visa Europe have an existing relationship in the UK and Ireland. This new agreement extends the current arrangement Europe-wide including additional markets such as Spain and Germany. Visa Europe is defined by the agreement as the mobile operator’s preferred partner for the issue of branded payment cards and developing related mobile payment services.

Visa signed a worldwide agreement earlier this year with Vodafone to enable the mobile operator’s subscribers to make payments using their mobile phones.  Initial launch of the services will include countries in Vodafone’s European footprint. Germany, Spain and the Netherlands were specifically mentioned at the launch of the partnership.

Other partnerships between mobile operators and credit card companies have been formed. Just this week Deutsche Telekom agreed to work with MasterCard on offering NFC-based mobile payments to the operator’s subscribers in Europe.

Telefonica itself has a separate agreement with MasterCard to offer mobile payment services in Latin America.

The current alliance with Visa Europe will support the continued development of Telefonica Digital’s mobile wallet which is currently only available in the UK (it was launched earlier this year). The aim is to launch the wallet across the rest of Telefonica’s footprint. In addition the two companies will co-operate in the areas mentioned (NFC, mobile point of sale and merchant offers).

Also the two companies already cooperate in the UK on a Visa-based O2 Money card which the operator launched as part of its recent wallet announcement.

In addition the partners will enable retailers to process customer payments by attaching a card reader to a standard smartphone or tablet. Square have already popularised this service in the US. PayPal has also entered the market. In Europe, iZettle is rolling out its service to the UK following a launch in Scandanavia. To date this is a market not aggressively pursued by mobile operators.