Visa launches microSD card for mobile payment
Credit card company Visa has unveiled a Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled microSD card it has manufactured in partnership with Devicefidelity.
Visa also plans to launch two pilot projects this year in the mobile payment segment, said Rachel Bale, Mobile Manager, Mobile Innovation, Visa, Cemea.
Speaking to Emirates Business, Bale said: "The lack of NFC handsets in the market led us to partner with Devicefidelity. Instead of waiting for these handsets to reach the market, we went ahead and launched this contactless technology, which sits on the SD card. Phones with SD card slots will have this function and speed up the commercial aspects of payments."
She said: "There are companies looking at creative solutions while waiting for NFC handsets. Some of them are less robust than others and are fiddly. Particularly in the Middle East, where mobile phones change regularly, you need a robust solution. We are launching two pilot projects this year but the location is yet to be determined."
NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology, which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10-centimetre (around four inches) distance. The agreement combines Visa's Paywave service with Devicefidelity's In2pay technology. The microSD card approach is designed to work across multiple operating systems and uses a standard dual interface contactless smart card chip with an onboard software controlled antenna.
Visa is actively looking at extending its current money transfer services to the mobile channel.
"We are interested in value added services such as alerts and toping up airtime. In the Middle East, we are already working on proximity. For example, we have worked with Zain in Kuwait, and with etisalat and Emirates NBD in Dubai. These are pilot projects in the Middle East, while a commercial launch only happened in Malaysia.
"Therefore, outside of the advanced markets this was the first launch. For the new microSD technology, it is also important to get everyone in the value chain included before launching it commercially."
Bale did not reveal details about the pilot projects but said that in emerging countries this was the way to reach customers.
"Visa is looking at a prepaid card function. There will be no requirement of a bank account as this will be a virtual card. The account can be accessed by the mobile phone. The large migrant population will be a target for such a solution."
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