Visa pushes UK operators to join London Olympics NFC payment scheme

Visa Europe said it is talking with UK operators in an attempt to persuade them to join its NFC-based payment initiative. Visa is hoping to have a fully functioning system in operation by early 2012--in time for the London Olympics.

Samsung has committed to support Visa's plans and will launch a handset with Olympic-themed content and NFC technology that will enable m-payments using an embedded app. However, according to New Media Age, Samsung was unable to reveal which OS--either its proprietary bada or Google's Android platform--the handset might use, only confirming that it would become available early next year.

Commenting on the plan, Sandra Alzetta, Visa Europe's head of innovation and new product development, said the m-payment service will also enable users to pay for items, with optional security being provided by a PIN number.

"When you question people about this, the first thing they ask about is security, so we're including that as an option," said Alzetta.

As evidence of its commitment to pushing ahead, staff within Visa Europe are already testing the service with iPhones using NFC-enabled covers. The company said it will start working with the UK banking community to make its m-payments service commercially available from the start of next year.

If UK operators decline to support the Visa Europe solution, the financial service firm is planning to implement the scheme using a microSD-card based alternative. Such an offering could be retrofitted to any handset and provide the necessary NFC capability and secure element without the need for any operator involvement.

For more:
- see this New Media Age article

Related Articles:
FT Orange cool to Google Wallet, calls for m-commerce openness
Everything Everywhere, O2, Vodafone forge JV to fast-track m-commerce
Mobile operators demoted to dumb pipes by new UK payment platform
Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica O2, Vodafone create German m-payment JV