Visa Unveils V.Me Digital Wallet: NFC Not Included

by Matt Klassen on November 17, 2011

With ambitious unified projects like the ISIS mobile wallet seemingly abandoned on the side of the road towards progress and profits, both financial and technology companies alike have undertaken their own mobile wallet projects as the battle to become the default form factor for the next generation digital payment platform has officially begun.

While many company’s are still several years away from bringing a mobile payment platform to market, earlier this year both Google and Visa separately announced their respective plans to develop a mobile payment system, hoping to be the first to revolutionize the way we store payment information and use it to purchase goods and services.

In late summer Google was the first to market with its Google Wallet platform, leaving many wondering where Visa was in the race for mobile payment dominance. We didn’t have to wait long, however, as Visa has officially unveiled its own offering, dubbed V.me, slated for public release sometime in early 2012.

But with V.me not supporting NFC mobile payment technology, has Visa already lost the race?

For those that may be new to this ongoing discussion, the mobile payment revolution is simply the transfer of your personal financial information from the credit and debit cards that fill your wallet to your mobile smartphone. Utilizing new technology called near-field communication (NFC), which sends a unique encrypted signal from your phone to the merchant terminal, people will be able to make secure purchases with nothing more than a swipe of their phone.

So how does Visa’s V.me wallet work? Different than what I described above, Visa’s new digital wallet will work a lot like current popular payment site PayPal, allowing users to link the wallet to various existing forms of payment, like a credit card, allowing them to instantly access that information from their mobile phones to make purchases. Instead of needing a 16-digit account or card number to complete a transaction, users just need to sign into their V.me digital wallet and proceed with purchasing items.

The clear downside of Visa’s V.me digital wallet, however, is the fact it does not incorporate the fledgling near field communication technology into its payment platform, technology that would allow users to simply swipe and pay with their phone; a point that was clearly the initial attraction to mobile payment systems in general.

In fact, without NFC capability I would say that Visa’s V.me and Google’s Wallet aren’t really competitors at all, with the former actually in the same category with PayPal while the latter is truly the only digital wallet to actually be participating in the mobile payment revolution. To its credit, Visa is hoping to encourage developers to adopt the digital wallet and incorporate it into existing mobile applications for an easy-payment option, but again, no NFC.

In my mind, therefore, Visa’s V.me digital wallet is nothing more than a copycat online payment system, something that would allow users to make Internet purchases but not in-store purchases like Google Wallet purportedly is able to do. Why users would need Visa’s V.me platform, therefore, remains a mystery to me.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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Is NFC Really the Future of Mobile Payment? — TheTelecomBlog.com
February 28, 2013 at 5:57 am

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Kim Fraiser November 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I found this great app, CSI globalVCard, that allows me to make B2B mobile payments on my smartphone and tablet. It’s available on blackberry, itunes and android. It’s definitely the safest way for my business to make payments on the go!

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