Visa Europe goes live with first microSD m-payment service

Having been frustrated by the lack of handsets with integrated NFC, Visa Europe has launched a contact-less payment system in Turkey using a microSD card that supports NFC.

The company said that Blackberry users, who were customers of Turkey's Akbank, would now be able to pay for items using the NFC microSD card, branded In2Pay, that Visa Europe has sourced from DeviceFidelity.

Commenting on the launch, Mary Carol Harris, head of mobile at Visa Europe, said that one of the key challenges to the success of mobile payments was the supply and availability of NFC handsets. "A majority of mobile handsets offered in the market are supplied with integrated NFC. Visa is proactively working with innovators like DeviceFidelity and pioneers such as Akbank to harness the potential of new technologies."

Visa Europe said that the In2Pay card could still act as a storage expansion facility, so users would not have to do without their digital memory needs in order to make use of the new service.

While the Visa service only supports Blackberry today, the company stated that it would expand to include HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia and Motorola handsets in the near future.

The In2Pay chip is said to be compliant with EMV and Global Platform regulations and is based on the industry standard Secure Element platform. It also supports Javacard and MiiFare and integrates with the Wallet system that has been used by NFC systems in the past.

Meanwhile, Visa's major rival, Mastercard, is pushing ahead with its NFC-enabled sticker initiative in partnerships with another Turkish bank, Garanti, and SIM card developer Gemalto. This approach also removes the need for handsets with integrated NFC.

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