Visa Inc Pushes for Mobile Technology

Visa has always been on the cusp of technology and is always looking for new and innovative ways to expand their sphere of influence. Visa is launching four new programs that allow payments and services via mobile devices which will introduce the start of mobile technology in the payment processing industry. Two such programs are being launched in Brazil and Korea, and the other two will be in the United States.

Previously, I have talked about Google’s Android platform working with Visa on a service that sends you an alert if any payments have been made on your Visa card. This is great in helping to protect against fraud, and will also help in locating ATMs, but I don’t consider this to be a new technology.

In 2007, Visa partnered with Qualcomm, a wireless chip developer, to create technologies that allow consumers to make credit card transactions with a cell phone and a reading device. This would add another way for wireless carriers to make additional revenue by being paid a percentage of the transaction.

Now in 2008, in Brazil, Visa announced the availability of remote payments by Banco do Brasil. The service allows Visa cardholders to pay with their mobile device and confirm the transaction via text message. In Korea, T-Money provider Korea Smart Card Company, card issuer Shinhan bank, and Korea Telecom Freetel have partnered to make it possible for commuters to add funds to their T-Money balance automatically on their cell phones. T-Money is a rechargeable card used to pay for the Korean transit system.

Here in the United States, Visa is in a pilot program with Chase Bank to provide personalized offers sent to cell phones via SMS text giving discounts and special deals from online merchants. I wonder if standard text rates apply to this. I am not a big fan of this program but I can see how it can enhance advertising for businesses.

Visa is also working on providing NFC (Near Field Communication) with several large banks across the United States. NFC is a short range high frequency wireless communication technology that enables the exchange of data between devices. This technology is most frequently used for mobile phones.  This technology is also in its pilot stages in France with “Payez Mobile” and in Spain using “payWave”.

Is this mobile technology going to cause an increase of stolen cell phones and future security issues? Is cell phone payment technology going to be the way of the future?