Vodafone and Visa have announced a worldwide partnership to enable consumers to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones, in the largest deal of its kind between a global payment network and mobile operator.The companies will work together to develop a Vodafone-branded proposition that will be offered to consumers across Vodafone's 398 million-strong customer base in more than 30 countries, enabled by Visa's payment network, product suite and brand. The new Vodafone mobile payment proposition announced with Visa will be based on the Visa prepaid account and offered to consumers in partnership with Visa Issuers. Speaking to Smart Chimps, Pedro Sousa, head of innovation, new product and channel innovation at Visa Europe, commented: 'We're working with operators to enable them to have pre-pay cards, but but mainly to enable our member banks to use mobile operators' technology.
'This means mobioe operators can look to Visa to provide them with a complete payment experience, including Visa's security and convenience, and therefore allow them to create better products for their customers, making money through increased loyalty, data usage and pre-pay card spend,' he added.
In addition to the Vodafone-branded stored value account inside the mobile wallet, Vodafone and Visa will work together to enable Visa Issuers for mobile payments globally. The platform will be open to all partners of all relevant industries, including financial institutions, retailers, transport and utility companies to host their services within an innovative new Vodafone mobile wallet.Vittorio Colao, Group Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone, said: 'The Vodafone mobile wallet represents the next stage of the smartphone revolution. It offers our customers the speed, simplicity and convenience of managing their everyday transactions with a single wave or tap of their smartphone, using innovative and reliable services developed by Vodafone and Visa – technology and providers they can trust. Our mobile wallet will be open to any service provider and we are committed to enable all partners to provide our joint customers the richest service portfolio possible.'In developed countries across Europe, North America and Australia, with a mature infrastructure for electronic payments, users of the Vodafone stored value account will be able to make purchases using near field communications (NFC) enabled smartphones equipped with Visa payWave for mobile, Visa's mobile payment technology. Consumers will also be able to make high value purchases securely using a passcode.Peter Ayliffe, CEO of Visa Europe, said: 'Our partnership with Vodafone represents a huge stride forward for mobile payments. Visa's future of payments initiative is more than just a promise: these services are real, tangible and coming to the mainstream consumer market in the very near future. Any Visa Issuer across these key markets will be able to work with Visa and Vodafone to enable mobile payments for their customers, backed by all the security, trust and global acceptance the Visa brand represents.'The service will initially be launched in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the UK, starting in the coming financial year. Other countries within Vodafone's global portfolio will follow.
The agreement forms part of Vodafone's broader m-commerce strategy to provide consumers with a comprehensive mobile-based alternative to the cash and cards. Vodafone claimed it is in discussions with a large number of service providers – including banks, retailers, transport and utility companies, event organisers, smartphone application developers and advertisers – to host a broad range of services within the Vodafone mobile wallet.