Visa is planning to launch a new type of digital wallet system that would let consumers pay for items online with just a single click.
Tapping into the growing mobile payments technology known as NFC (near-field communications), Visa's offering could also let consumers wirelessly pay for items at retail outlets through a mobile device equipped with the digital wallet technology.
The company is promising a number of benefits through its digital wallet. Consumers could order items online in one click using a single e-mail address or ID and password instead of having to plug in their mailing addresses and credit card numbers at each retail site. To address security issues, Visa is looking at different types of authentication to make sure the purchases are safe and secure.
Consumers will be able to control and customize the privacy and account settings for their digital wallets. Finally, retailers themselves could send shoppers discounts and promotions via the digital wallets stored on their mobile devices.
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To advance the digital wallet across the globe, Visa is working with other card providers, local banks, credit unions, and retailers themselves. The company is planning to launch its digital wallet in the U.S. and Canada this fall, with more countries slated to receive it next year.
In March, Visa and Samsung said they would work together to let smartphone users make mobile payments through NFC technology in London during the 2012 Olympic games.
The capabilities of the digital wallet will vary depending on the resources in a given country, according to Visa.
In more developed countries set up with the necessary electronic payment systems and widespread mobile broadband availability, the digital wallet would support NFC payments through a mobile device, allowing consumers to wirelessly pay for items at the point of sale. It would also store account information from Visa and other financial providers, all of it accessed by the user through a single password.
In more emerging economies with a large number of mobile phone users, Visa plans to team up directly with local financial providers and network carriers to offer customers a way to send and receive funds and manage their financial accounts via their mobile devices.
"The widespread adoption of Internet and mobile technology is changing the way people connect and transact across the globe, so we're focused on delivering locally-tailored payments products and services," Visa CEO Joseph Saunders said in a statement. "We are introducing new solutions for eCommerce and mobile devices that provide the same 'Visa-quality' experience--convenience, reliability and security--people enjoy when using their Visa cards at a retail location."