Visa Teams Up with Samsung to Offer Contactless Mobile Payments

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Visa is teaming up with phonemaker Samsung Electronics to provide a financial program to enable mobile handsets to be used like a credit or debt card.

Visa's PayWave application will be a standard feature on Samsung devices equipped with near-field-communication technology, which allows customers to pay for goods or services by tapping their phones on a reader, the companies said in a statement today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The partners will also cooperate on technology for banks to download account information securely to Samsung phones for the payments.

Phone companies and financial institutions such as Foster City, California-based Visa and Purchase, New York-based MasterCard Inc. are promoting NFC applications for use in so- called mobile wallets by encouraging the more than 70,000 people attending the industry congress this week to pay for coffee and badge into events with handsets carrying the feature.

"The Visa-Samsung global alliance is a first of its kind between a leading NFC handset manufacturer and payment network that is paving the way for the implementation of large-scale mobile payment programs," the companies said.

Companies are looking for partnerships to propel growth in the nascent NFC market, which requires cooperation among retailers, banks, credit card companies, handset makers, mobile phone service providers and manufacturers of point-of-sale devices. ABI Research estimated in November that the number of NFC-enabled devices shipped will jump to 1.95 billion in 2017 from as many 102 million predicted for 2012.

Samsung and Visa worked together to offer NFC-based payments at the London Olympics last year, giving athletes phones equipped with the feature and installing more than 140,000 payment terminals across the U.K.

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