Visa is picking up the pace on its mobile wallet plans amid growing momentum for NFC-based payments on smartphones.
The company plans to speed up its move to a new chip technology that supports NFC payments. Merchants that adopt this new technology will be able to skip Visa’s annual security audit if they comply with the company’s security requirements.
“By encouraging investments in EMV contact and contactless chip technology, we will speed up the adoption of mobile payments as well as improve international interoperability and security,” Visa product executive Jim McCarthy said in a press release. “As NFC mobile payments and other chip-based emerging technologies are poised to take off in the coming years, we are taking steps today to create a commercial framework that will support growth opportunities and create value for all participants in the payment chain.”
Visa is also requiring the firms that handle credit card transactions for retailers to support the new payment technology by April 2013. Finally, Visa said merchants that haven’t upgraded their terminals to the new security requirements by October 2015 could be held liable for counterfeit payment fraud.
The new chip technology uses what Visa calls “dynamic authentication,” which it claims makes it harder for criminals to use stolen payment card information.
“Adding dynamic elements to transactions makes account data less attractive to steal and takes more merchant systems out of harm’s way, shrinking the battlefield against criminals,” Ellen Richey, Visa’s chief enterprise risk officer, said in a statement.
Visa’s mobile wallet push comes as the country’s top wireless operators are moving to roll out smartphone-based payments. AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA have teamed up on mobile payments startup Isis, which will work with American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Sprint and Verizon have separately signed on to American Express’ Serve platform.