The rapidly-evolving mobile payments industry just took a big step with two huge brands, Visa and Samsung, announcing a partnership that may involve the smartphone maker’s highly-anticipated Galaxy S IV model set to debut next month.
The agreement allows financial institutions that are planning to launch mobile payment programs to use Visa payWave to download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices. NFC stands for “near field communications.”
This will enable consumers with Samsung devices to load credit card information and pay for items by tapping their smartphone on a special pad.
Visa payWave is the top credit card network’s mobile payment applet that enables consumers to “wave and pay” using mobile devices.
The announcement did not mention which next-generation Samsung device will feature Visa payWave, but it’s likely that it will be part of the potential features of the latest version of Samsung’s premiere smartphone — and the iPhone’s top competitor — the Galaxy S IV, which will be announced at an event in New York on March 14.
“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,” said Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa Inc. “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.”
The Samsung devices will be ready to be personalized with Visa payment account information, a simple step that consumers will be able to initiate using a mobile payment application provided by their financial institution, Visa said.
However, there might be a hitch or two for Samsung smartphone users. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile each have their own mobile payments system called ISIS, and they tend block other NFC payment apps such as Google Wallet.
There was no clarification from Visa or Samsung on any wireless carrier limitations.