Visa Raises The Stakes in Mobile Payments

Visa Raises The Stakes in Mobile PaymentsEarning its fair share of media attention even amidst intense competition for the spotlight at Mobile World Congress this week, Visa has just announced it is offering clients new options to deploy mobile payment programs.

Among the offerings, we’re told, is an option to host Visa payWave-enabled accounts in a secure, virtual cloud.

Visa says its latest move expands the payment provider’s support for mobile payments globally and will give financial institutions greater choice in offering consumers “secure ways to pay with smartphones.”

Visa’s support for cloud-based payments follows the introduction of a new feature in the Android mobile operating system called Host Card Emulation (HCE); HCE allows any NFC application on an Android device to emulate a smart card, letting users wave-to-pay with their smartphones, while permitting financial institutions to host payment accounts in a secure, virtual cloud.

“Our clients and partners around the globe are continuously looking for flexible, cost efficient and secure ways to enable mobile payments,” explains Elizabeth Buse, Executive Vice President of Global Solutions at Visa Inc.

Buse says the Android HCE feature provides Visa with a platform to “evolve the Visa payWave standard, support the development of secure, cloud-based mobile applications, while at the same time offer greater choice to our clients.”

According to data from IDC released earlier this month, 78 percent of smartphones sold in Q4 2013 run on the Android operating system.