Visa to push mobile payments in 2013

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Visa is to prioritise the roll-out of mobile payment services this year, enabling more handsets with NFC technology

Visa is planning a mainstream launch of mobile payment services this year, following a successful trial at the London Olympics.

The payment company’s UK and Ireland managing director Marc O’Brien said mobile is its “immediate priority” as it hopes to maintain its core business, high street transactions.

Speaking at a Westminster event on the future of digital payments, O’Brien said in 2013 Visa will roll out “much more” contactless cards and terminals.

The UK is second behind Poland in terms of rolling out the infrastructure, which O’Brien said is “not good enough”, adding it should be able to catch up as large retail chains M&S and Boots instal terminals.

Visa has already certified 80 mobile handsets as NFC capable, which means they can be used as debit or credit cards.

To pay for low-value transactions, users tap their device onto a terminal. Higher-value transactions required tapping and entering a PIN number.

The service was trailed on Samsung devices by 700 VIPs during the London olympics. Over the ten-week trial, 10,000 transactions took place.

“We are working to make all handsets NFC capable,” said O’Brien, “We have the means of making the iPhone NFC capable.”

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