Visa, one of the world’s biggest payment merchants, has recently announced partnerships with a number of financial institutions for mobile payments on Android devices.  The new services focus on contactless payments.  It is believed that this will be a major step in making mobile payments more accessible to consumers.

The deal

Visa has announced deals with financial institutions such as BBVA, US Bank and Cuscal.  The deals will allow customers of those banks to download apps allowing them to input Visa card details and make payments using their mobile phones by waving them in front of in-store card readers.  The apps will be available on a Google Play Store account, with more banks set to follow soon.

Why is the deal so important?

Up until now it has been individual banks looking to make a push into the mobile payment market.  Phone manufacturers have been slow to implement NFC (Near Field Communication) chips into phones.  The fact that Visa are now making a push, and that the service relies only on an Android app, means that millions of phone users across a number of banks will be able to take advantage of the new technology. It means that mobile payment markets could explode in popularity over the next few months.  Consumers have great reason to be excited by this – it could signal the end of cards as a payment method, if take up exceeds projections.

How it works

If you bank with an institution who has a deal in place with a Visa, you would be able to download the relevant app from Google Play.  You then register your card information with Visa via authentication tokens, which allow the app to communicate with Visa when you make a payment. Once you are set up, you can walk into a store and make a payment using a contactless payment terminal.  Wave your app like you would a contactless card and the terminal does the rest.

Is it safe?

Of course, one of the first questions asked is around safety.  Lots of consumers will have concerns about storing card details on their phones.  Visa advise that it is safe, as the card details are not stored on the app.  The card details are stored with Visa and Visa authenticate the app at point of purchase. Some analysts have voiced concerns about Visa’s hoarding of card details but they are reckoned to have some of the most sophisticated security controls around.

What the future holds

There are lots of potential uses for the technology.  It could be used to make credit/debit cards obsolete, cutting down on the amount of plastic needed for banks to run their operations.  It is another step to making our lives digital, where we entrust more and more functions to mobile devices. The technology could even be applied to wearable tech such as smart watches.  You could pay for your morning coffee with a flick of your wrist.  Even if you leave your wallet at home or in the car, you can still pay for your shopping or dine with friends without embarrassment. What this means for payment merchants and businesses is that now, more than ever, it is time to consider updating your ePos systems and have contactless payment terminals. We can help you future proof your business, so contact us to discuss your requirements.