MWC 2012: Vodafone teams with Visa for NFC payments

The mobile operator's CEO announces the UK will be one of the first countries to benefit.

mobile payments

Vodafone has partnered with Visa to bring NFC payments using mobile phones to the UK.

The company's chief executive (CEO), Vittorio Colao, revealed the move during a keynote speech at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Our partnership with Vodafone represents a huge stride forward for mobile payments.

"We want to build more strategic partnerships with companies [and will begin] with Visa for NFC devices," said Colao.

"We need to create standards to deliver these services [and] with effective cooperation for standards and supportive regulation we can push [NFC payments] forward."

The roll-out will begin in the new 2012 financial year in the UK, Germany, Spain, Turkey and The Netherlands, but Vodafone plans to push the service to more than 30 countries across five continents.

The solution will be Vodafone-branded, but based on Visa's pre-payment technology, enabling users to top up their phones with cash and use them for touch payments in shops set up to carry out transactions in that way.

Once established, the platform will then become open, allowing businesses to host their services with Vodafone's mobile wallet. The mobile giant confirmed in its press statement that 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 an innovative new Vodafone "virtual" mobile wallet."

Visa is a popular choice of payment for many consumers, with some 445 million such debit, credit and commercial cards in operation in Europe. Of the overall consumer spending carried out in Europe each year, some 14 per cent is done via Visa, with 80 per cent of that coming from Visa debit cards, according to official statistics.

"Our partnership with Vodafone represents a huge stride forward for mobile payments," added Peter Ayliffe, CEO of Visa Europe. "Visa's future of payments initiative is more than just a promise: these services are real, tangible and coming to the mainstream consumer market in the very near future."

"Any Visa Issuer across these key markets will be able to work with Visa and Vodafone to enable mobile payments for their customers, backed by all the security, trust and global acceptance the Visa brand represents."

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