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PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Nov 18, 2010

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Real Innovation in Mobile Payments

After ISIS was announced on Tuesday, Forbes.com ran a blog post by Bob Egan in which he claimed that current mobile banking offers are “somewhat lackluster,” and that there is an absence of “real innovation in payments.” Respectfully, I must disagree. Mobile payments are – without question – highly innovative, rapidly evolving and, perhaps most importantly, on the threshold of being rolled out broadly across the United States over the next 12 months. But don’t just take our word for it: a recent magazine edition of Forbes also published a feature by Lee Gomes, highlighting Visa’s mobile payments innovation. In the article, Gomes writes:

“It’s…possible for the phone itself to replace a card, with the number that’s ordinarily embedded in a card’s magnetic stripe transferred to a radio-signal-emitting microchip inside the phone. A new breed of “contactless” systems is slowly being introduced, usually in high-volume operations like McDonald’s or part of the New York City subway. You authorize a payment by holding your phone next to the unit; Visa is pushing the new system hard.”

In addition to mobile technology like contactless payments, Visa’s open network has enabled 15,700 financial institutions and tens of millions of merchants around the globe to deliver payment services to consumers. We believe the open network is well-positioned to support secure and globally interoperable mobile payments. As he covers in the feature, during our conversation, Gomes and I discussed the strength of Visa’s network:

“Visa is also selling its bona fides as a partner to insurgents rather than try to compete directly. As Gajda makes the Silicon Valley startup circuit, he emphasizes the size of the Visa network and its decades of experience fighting fraud, the scourge of electronic-payment systems everywhere. ‘This is a train you want to be on board,’ he says.

“His best argument: the sheer complexity involved in moving money from a buyer to a seller electronically. It might be easy to build an iPhone app that lets you enter in the phone number of a co-worker you want to pay back for lunch, a common promise in the new mobile-payments world. But then someone has to do the intricate behind-the-scenes data processing that makes sure the card isn’t stolen, the people involved aren’t scammers, the payer’s account has the necessary funds and the actual money transfer happens quickly and without a glitch.”

Our collaboration with leading financial institutions like U.S. Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co, and J.P. Morgan Chase, and partners DeviceFidelity and Monitise highlight true innovation in mobile payments. Rest assured, the U.S. is about to make a big leap forward in making mobile payments a reality. I remain highly confident in Visa’s long-term growth and innovation strategy, including our plans to continue work with our partners to accelerate the adoption and usage of mobile payments.

Posted by: Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Product on November 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm