By Heather McLean
Visa and Vodafone annnounced today the world’s largest mobile payment deal, in which the two will work together to enable all Vodafone customers to have access to mobile money.
The companies will work together to develop a Vodafone-branded proposition to be offered to Vodafone’s 398 million-strong customer base. The new Vodafone mobile payment service will be based on the Visa prepaid account and offered to consumers in partnership with Visa Issuers.
As part of the deal, Visa is providing Vodafone with mobile pre-pay cards, and it will also enable all its partner banks using Visa credit and debit cards access to the Vodafone-branded scheme.
The deal sets a good precedent for all mobile operators, claimed Pedro Sousa, head of Contactless & Mobile Payment, Visa, speaking to Mobile Europe. “This means mobile operators can look to Visa to provide them with the entire payment experience, the security and the convenience, which really allows them to create better products for their customers,” he said.
“Mobile operators can make money through customer loyalty, data usage and pre-pay cards,” continued Sousa. However, he added, “We are working with mobile operators to allow them to have pre-pay cards, but mainly we are working to enable our partner banks to use mobile operator technology.”
In addition to the Vodafone-branded stored value account inside the mobile wallet, Vodafone and Visa will work together to enable Visa Issuers for mobile payments globally. The platform will be available to all partners of all relevant industries, from financial institutions to retailers, all of whom can host their services within a new Vodafone mobile wallet.
In countries across Europe, the US and Australia, with a mature infrastructure for electronic payments, users of the Vodafone stored value account will be able to make purchases at point of sale using near field communications (NFC) enabled smartphones equipped with Visa payWave for mobile. Consumers will also be able to make high value purchases securely using a passcode.
The agreement forms part of Vodafone’s mobile commerce strategy, to provide consumers with a mobile-based alternative to the cash and cards. Vodafone stated it is in discussions with a large number of service providers – including banks, retailers, transport and utility companies, event organisers, smartphone application developers and advertisers – to host a broad range of services within the Vodafone mobile wallet.
The service will initially be launched in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the UK from the beginning of the next financial year. Other countries will follow.