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Visa to Launch a Global Mobile Phone Payment System

VisaVisa announced a new mobile payment system at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. (more news)

Unlike a credit card, the system would eventually enable users to make mobile payments without any physical interaction with the vendor. Similarly, the system will let people make payments remotely, perform direct person-to-person exchanges and enable vendors to offer digital coupons on cellphones.

If you’ve read any of my past thoughts on the mobile phone being underutalized as a platform for commerce transactions. So, this development is very exciting. It will be extremely successful if they have the same international coverage with this system as they do with their normal Visa card.

I’d like to know a little bit more about it, since there are a couple of things that I think are left out at this stage. For instance, will I ever be able to inject the system with cash, or is it all credit based? Will application and enrollment in the stystem be available to people in developing countries? What are the rates going to look like?


  1. This type of commerce is suitable for marginilized people or areas of the world. We already have contactless cards or key-fobs and I don’t see people in the near future trading their plastic cards for a sim card. People with spending power have several plastic cards. So how will one cell-phone replace several accounts.
    At the risk of being seen as an idiot in 20 years to come, I will be brave and say that the mobile phone usefulness is limited to communication and entertainment.
    This is PR news. VISA is trying hard to be in the news. That’s it.

  2. But even though its PR character, it would be nice to have a global mobile payment system, so the idea makes sense to me.

  3. I’ve also blogged on the same –

    Safaricom (in Kenya) are supposed to be launching a mobile payment solution sometimes this year – whiteafrican – blogged about it.

    I think it’s suited for developing countries where credit card use is at a minimum

  4. I agree with Ssembonge in that if this is just an extension of credit cards to the normal people who can afford to get credit cards, that though it will be successful, it’s value in third world countries is greatly diminished.

    I’d like to see such a system built that would allow micro-banking to happen. Though the phone companies can do some things in the geographic location that they’re in, it will really take someone who has, or can create, a global presence to really make this a reality. So, Safaricom will probably create a great system for Kenya and a few other countries in Africa. However, I think the ability to do cross-border commerce won’t be able to happen at its fullest.

    Again, I love the mobile phone as the platform for this. It’ll be the execution that makes or breaks it (as always).

  5. Visa has long realized the importance of the mobile channel to the future of payments and as a medium to deliver to consumers

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