Vodafone, Visa Plan Major Mobile-Payments Team-Up

By Craig Galbraith Comments

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS — Vodafone has announced a major partnership with Visa that will allow consumers to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones.

The companies are planning a Vodafone-branded proposition that will be offered to consumers across the carrier's 400-million customer base in more than 30 countries across five continents. It will be enabled by Visa’s payment network, product suite and brand. The parties say the partnership is the largest of its kind between a global payment network and mobile operator, combining the companies’ global reach and expertise to bring Visa payment functionality to consumers around the world.

The new proposition, announced in conjunction with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will be based on the Visa prepaid account and offered to customers  in partnership with Visa Issuers. The service will initially be launched in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K., starting in the coming financial year. Other countries within Vodafone's global portfolio will follow.

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 open to all partners of all relevant industries, including financial institutions, retailers, transport and utility companies to host their services within an innovative new Vodafone mobile wallet.

“The Vodafone mobile wallet represents the next stage of the smartphone revolution," said Vittorio Colao, group CEO of Vodafone. "It offers our customers the speed, simplicity and convenience of managing their everyday transactions with a single wave or tap of their smartphone, using innovative and reliable services developed by Vodafone and Visa – technology and providers they can trust. Our mobile wallet will be open to any service provider and we are committed to enable all partners to provide our joint customers the richest service portfolio possible."

In developed countries across Europe, North America and Australia, with a mature infrastructure for electronic payments, users of the Vodafone stored value account will be able to make purchases at the point of sale using Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled smartphones equipped with Visa payWave for mobile, Visa’s mobile payment technology. By waving their smartphone in front of a payment terminal, consumers will be able to make simple, everyday purchases such as bus and train tickets, newspapers, magazines or a morning coffee, the companies said. Consumers will also be able to make high value purchases securely using a passcode.

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