Visa CEO: ‘we are still waiting for the iPod of m-commerce’

Visa Europe’s CEO Peter Ayliffe has likened the race from brands across sectors to make mobile wallet services to the early race for dominance in the MP3 market, predicting there will be an “iPod” equivalent that will soon emerge.

Visa NFC

Ayliffe, who was speaking at The Open Mobile Summit in London today (30 May) admitted consumers currently find the m-commerce space “confusing” as the sector is fragmented with offerings from brands across sectors including Google, O2, PayPal and Visa itself, but soon there will be “one or two” clear winners.

He added: “It’s similar to what happened with MP3 players, then suddenly the iPod arrived…at the moment it’s in that classic start-up phase.

“Some services launched to date are not very user friendly, but soon someone will come up with the iPod.”

Visa has been piloting the use of mobile phones on the London Underground, send money to friends, offer vouchers and coupons and ping fraud alerts as well as making payments.

The company has forged a partnership with Samsung to launch the official Olympics phone, the Galaxy S3, which has in-built NFC technology, although Ayliffe admitted he is “frustrated” it will not be able to work on the London Underground in time for the games as previously planned.

Ayliffe said: “We see the Olympics not just as sponsorship, or an event we’re doing, we see it as a showcase for these new technologies.

“This [m-commerce,] radically changes the way we all think about things and do business.”

Visa is also using mobile payments technology to help retailers improve their targeting to customers, by offering geo-location and transaction data so they can target by context as well as generic demographic data. Earlier, at the same event, American Express group president Dan Schulman said his company was also accumulating a “spend graph” database of its customers to help brands with their mobile marketing.

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