Samsung-Visa alliance to boost NFC payments adoption

Samsung-Visa alliance to boost NFC payments adoption

Summary: The payments technology vendor and handset manufacturer have teamed up to help financial institutions make in-store payments through smartphones commonplace.

TOPICS: Mobility, Apps, Australia

Samsung and Visa have entered a global partnership, which may see the adoption of near-field communication (NFC) mobile payments soar.

Announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, this is the first partnership of its kind between a payments technology provider and a handset manufacturer, and will pave the way for large-scale mobile payments program implementation, according to Visa.

Selected Samsung NFC-enabled handsets with a secure chip embedded inside will be preloaded with Visa's payWave app. Banks and other financial institutions can then load payment account information remotely using Visa's mobile provisioning service to those Samsung handsets for a mass NFC mobile payments rollout.

"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," Visa global head of products Jim McCarthy said in a statement. "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."

A Visa spokesperson told ZDNet that there is "nothing to announce yet" in terms of Australian banks that are set to take advantage of the new Visa-Samsung partnership.

One of the hurdles for NFC mobile payments is that NFC-enabled handsets that exist today don't have a secure element activated inside.

According to Visa, the agreement covers "existing and future handsets that will have NFC capability", including the popular Samsung Galaxy S III.

Visa approved Samsung, LG, and BlackBerry phones to use its payWave technology in January last year. Since then, the company has trialled NFC payments with telcos Optus and Vodafone internally.

Westpac and ANZ are two banks that have tested NFC mobile payments using Galaxy S III smartphones with a secure chip embedded in SIM cards. The Commonwealth Bank, which has snubbed NFC payments testing altogether, deemed the SIM card method an "expensive and complicated" exercise.

Westpac ran its trial with Visa competitor MasterCard.

The latter also made an NFC announcement at WMC this year, launching MasterPass, a digital payments service that supports payments using NFC, QR codes, tags, and mobile devices for in-store purchases.

Australia and Canada will get the MasterPass service first from the end of March, followed by the US and the UK. Interested customers can sign up for the service at their respective financial institutions.

Topics: Mobility, Apps, Australia

Spandas Lui

About Spandas Lui

Spandas forayed into tech journalism in 2009 as a fresh university graduate spurring her passion for all things tech. Based in Australia, Spandas covers enterprise and business IT.

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  • BlackBerry

    Didn't VISA also approve of BlackBerry SEM for the same thing a month or so ago.
    Please explain what the difference was between that approval and this agreement.
    Susan Antony
    • BlackBerry

      From my understanding, the difference between the Visa-BlackBerry and Visa-Samsung deal is the Visa mobile provisioning service.

      This means banks can send payment account information over-the-air onto Samsung NFC-enabled devices.

      Hope that helps.


  • Consumer Driven Era

    I always thought "consumer driven" means the consumer tells the business what they want.
    Either my analysis is wrong or Samsung just wants to "jump the gun" anyway they could to beat Apple.
    Apple and CBA already trialled NFC payments (not together).
    Perhaps the results from those tests are more important.
    • Starbucks Coffee App takes too long

      I've been waiting to see how NFC would pan out for years. But all this changed when I got the Starbucks App for my phone. I've used the Starbucks App on my iPhone for over 2 years. Using it takes too long, and it holds up the line. I have to wait for it to launch, make sure to select the right card to pay with, then remind the cashier that I'm paying with my app, because she doesn't know if I'm responding to a text message.

      All this takes time, and holds up the line, just using basic barcode technology, which is likely similar to how NFC would work.

      Also, I'm not sure having a charged phone as a requisite requirement to make a purchase. Sometimes this isn't possible, especially towards the end of your phone warranty when the battery lasts for 20 minutes.

      I guess my point is this-- the plastic in my pocket seems to work just fine. Besides, I don't think it's not worth the extra hassle. If I loose my phone, say in a bar, and it's unlocked, I hope it has fraud protection. I'd loose my phone, and the next round of drinks would likely be on me.

      So, I just use my Plastic Starbucks Gold card anyway, and I can't see it easier than using plastic.

      It also impresses the ladies when I plop down my Platinum AMEX anyway. (Sorry, Visa!)
      donald duck 313
      • Wouldn't give up the physical

        I don't have an Amex, but I wouldn't give up my physical cards/cash/wallet either. Though NFC payments would be a nice complementary tool.

        Looking forward to see which banks will make use of this Visa-Samsung partnership first.