VISA: major digital wallet initiative in 2011

In a sweeping announcement today VISA is stepping up the game for digital wallet dominance. Not just a mobile transaction solution, VISA is looking at all payments with its next generation solution, online, mobile and point of sale will be included in the new platform.

VISA's digital wallet on an iPad

From the VISA blog post:

“We are working with leading financial institutions and merchants to launch the digital wallet in the U.S. and Canada in fall 2011. It stores Visa and non-Visa payment accounts, supports NFC payments via our PayWave application and delivers various transaction services to accommodate multiple commerce scenarios. We expect key features of the wallet to include:

  • Click-to-buy: Shop conveniently and securely by simply entering an email address, alias or online ID and password, instead of a billing address, account number and expiration date. In addition, Visa is exploring dynamic authentication technologies that will bring added layers of security to online purchases.
  • Preference management: A menu that allows consumers to set preferences for how their wallet will work, allowing them to customize and control the features of their personal wallet from privacy settings to designating which account will be accessed based on merchant type or purchase amount.
  • Merchant offers: A service that allows consumers to personalize their shopping experience by opting-in to receive money-saving discounts or promotions from the participating merchants.
  • Cross-channel payments solution: The wallet consolidates multiple Visa and non-Visa payment accounts and can be used in mobile, eCommerce, social network and retail point-of-sale environments.”

And the reason to believe:

“We are confident consumers worldwide will chose to adopt our new services over competitive offerings because:

  • Visa’s global payments solutions are convenient, secure, reliable, open and interoperable. eCommerce and mobile devices must work everywhere, every time to be viable payment channels—just like Visa cards do today.
  • Our new digital wallet is the first to deliver a wide range of transaction services and work across various commerce environments.
  • While mobile payments at the physical point-of-sale are generating buzz, our new digital wallet offers a range of payment options and services. In addition to supporting mobile payments through our industry leading Visa PayWave application, our new digital wallet securely stores Visa and non-Visa payment accounts, streamlines online purchases via “Click-to-buy” functionality and enables consumers to receive real-time offers from merchants.”

VISA is facing stiff compitition in the payment space from companies that were not in the space even a year ago. This comprehensive offering may put them back in a leadership position.

VISA's digital wallet with NFC at point of sale

From the New York Times:

“Visa executives said the plan was the result of two strategic acquisitions that the company made over the last several months — PlaySpan, a start-up that lets people pay for virtual goods in games, and CyberSource, an e-payments company. Representatives at Visa said it was working with several banking partners, but did not specify which ones.

Visa faces stiff competition as it ramps up its online and mobile offerings. American Express and other credit card issuers are fast at work developing and adopting their own solutions. Mobile carriers have also struggled to bring their own solutions to market, but it is not yet clear when or if, they will debut.”

From RWW:

“There has been much talk about digital wallets and, specifically, mobile wallets in recent days, with everyone from Google to Apple and even the mobile operators themselves having been pegged as being involved in building a consumer-facing platform, in some form or another. Visa, however, will be one of the first to actually launch a system to end users, from what we know as of today. That, plus their brand name recognition and the openness of the platform itself, may give them the advantage in the race to become your mobile wallet of choice.”

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.


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