Visa and Samsung made a joint announcement at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, one that could have pretty big ramifications for the uptake of NFC.
The so-called “global alliance” will see Visa’s payments paired with Samsung’s mobile technology to help accelerate the availability of NFC-based smartphone payments, something that thus far hasn’t quite lived up to its early promise.
As part of the deal, financial institutions such as banks will be able to launch mobile payment initiatives using the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices. This ultimately means that Samsung smartphones will be able to link up to Visa from the get-go.
This isn’t the first time the two companies have partnered – you may remember that Samsung and Visa unveiled payWave, the official London Olympics NFC payment app. It was announced at MWC last year, and owners of the official NFC-equipped Olympic smartphone were able to purchase tickets, merchandise and products at the Games through the app.
Indeed, with this latest tie-up, Samsung will preload the payWave applet onto its NFC-enabled mobile devices, which is perhaps something to expect with the imminent launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone next month. Either way, this deal means that select devices will be ready to be personalized with Visa payment account information, which can be initiated using a mobile payment app provided by a user’s bank.
“Samsung devices enabled with Visa payment functionality will no doubt be a powerful product offering – especially in markets where paying with a mobile device is becoming commonplace,” explains Jim McCarthy, global head of product at Visa. “However, the key to making mobile payments broadly available all over the world is to offer financial institutions a secure way to provision millions of smartphones with payment account information – and that is exactly what Visa and Samsung are ready to deliver.”
As for the broader deal here, Visa and Samsung say they will work towards enabling banks and financial institutions to launch “large scale mobile (NFC) payment programs”. Indeed, Samsung says it will give banks the ability to load payment account information over-the-air to a chip embedded in Samsung smartphones, using Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service linked to Samsung KMS (Key Management System), which creates secure data storage domains for issuers.