Vodafone and Visa forge NFC partnership

Mobile World Congress: Vodafone and Visa have formed the world’s largest m-commerce partnership to allow consumers to pay for items directly from their handsets.

Visa NFC

The mobile wallet proposition, which will be Vodafone branded, is set to launch in more than 30 countries worldwide, spanning five continents. It will launch in the UK in the “coming financial year”.

The Vodafone service follows that of rival Orange, which in May partnered with Barclaycard to launch its mobile payments service Quick Tap. O2 is also set to roll out a wallet service in the coming months, although the launch has been delayed.

Users of the Vodafone wallet will be able to pay for goods with Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled SIMs by waving their devices in front of payment terminals to purchase low-value items from the balance in their Visa pre-paid accounts. They will also be able to make high value purchases using a secure password.

Peter Ayliffe, CEO of Visa Europe, says: “Our partnership with Vodafone represents a huge stride forward for mobile payments. Visa’s future of payments initiative is more than just a promise: these services are real, tangible and coming to the mainstream consumer market in the very near future.”

The two brands will also expand the platform to other industries such as transport and utilities companies, so that they can also host their own services such as ticketing and loyalty schemes within the wallet.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today (27 February), Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao, said it is important mobile operators – and companies from wider industries – “co-operate on standards” for future services such as mobile payments.

He also called on regulators to be more supportive in their approach to help the mobile industry grow.

“We really need to stop this autopilot regulation mentality that is still prevailing in many parts of the world. [The more] our industry gets regulated [the more it] loses resources. Autopilot regulation is a legacy of the past,” he said.

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