Samsung And Visa Team Up To Make NFC Payment A Reality
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Samsung and Visa will now be working together to make mobile payments via near field communication (NFC) technology a reality, a feature which many have been lustily eyeing but few have been able to widely implement.
The two companies announced this partnership yesterday in Barcelona, Spain during the Mobile World Congress and plan to build upon Visa’s existing NFC initiatives in Europe, the UK and the US. Samsung’s market dominance and Visa’s ability to sign such deals makes this partnership an important one for the future of mobile payments.
Now, select Samsung smartphones will ship with secure Visa software to communicate directly with Visa-approved hardware, such as touch pads and dongles. According to TechCrunch, the Samsung Galaxy S IV, slated for unveiling on March 14, will be the first smartphone to come preloaded with this software.
It is important to note this Samsung-Visa partnership is not an exclusive one. Visa’s NFC-based mobile payment system will be available to other smartphone makers as well. According to Bill Gajda, Visa’s global head of mobile products, his company has been speaking to a number of mobile companies about implementing similar secure software in their devices.
‘We’ve approved 55 devices already, and have 55 more waiting in line,” said Gajda. And Visa Europe’s John White told Mashable the company expects to support 40 mobile payment systems in Europe by the end of the year.
On the flipside, Samsung is also free to work with other mobile payment providers like MasterCard or PayPal. In his interview with TechCrunch, Gajda said Visa’s choice to sign with Samsung was a strategic one, a move which should catapult their mobile payment push to the next level.
“We needed to start this project with the largest device maker in the world,” said Gajda, noting this agreement will cover more than 100 million NFC-enabled Samsung devices made in the next year.
This partnership is different from previous deals in that all parties involved – the banks, the device makers and Visa – will be using Visa’s set of secure APIs to talk to one another. New Visa-equipped Samsung phones will come pre-loaded with Visa’s payWave, an ‘applet’ which allows users to make payments as well as track how much they’ve spent and where.
John White told Mashable the pay wave applet will even have social media integration, a feature which seems particularly suited for the Rich Kids of Instagram set.
This partnership is big news for the future of mobile payments, but it’s left to be seen how much impact this will have in the US. Both companies are looking to roll out this service to American customers but will have to go through the carriers first. For example, Google also has a partnership with Visa by way of Google Wallet, yet only those Google Nexus phones sold through Sprint are able to use this feature.
Three of America’s largest carriers have entered into a consortium to one day bring NFC-based payments to American soil. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have started Isis, a project which Visa, American Express, Capital One and Chase are also a part of. Unlike the new Samsung deal with Visa, Isis requires a brand new SIM card to ensure secure transactions.
Currently, Isis is only available in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah. This new partnership between Samsung and Visa could possibly compete with Isis, but so far neither company has commented about an American future with Isis.