Visa will be introducing its digital wallet service, V.me, in Australia before Christmas 2013, just in time for the biggest shopping period of the year.
V.me is specifically designed for online shopping purposes across desktops, smartphones, and tablets, complementing Visa's contactless payment technology, Paywave. Much like PayPal, V.me lets users pay for online goods across participating e-commerce stores without the need to input personal details repeatedly. The service can be synced with any credit card, including MasterCard.
According to Visa Australia country manager Vipin Kalra, the drawcard of V.me is that its backed by a number of financial institutions, something that is lacking in the PayPal service.
"It's backed by financial institutions, backed by the Visa brand, and the consumers know that," he told ZDNet. "It brings that sense of security with the convenience of one-click shopping."
V.me's adoption by financial institutions is a crucial part of Visa's strategy to compete with long-time players like PayPal, which has over 110 million active users across the globe. Over 40 Australian financial institutions have already signed on to offer V.me, including NAB, Westpac, and Suncorp, but the largest bank in the country, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, was absent from the list. Visa said it is still in discussions with CommBank for taking on V.me.
"One of the challenges for e-retailers is shopping cart abandonment," Visa head of V.me for Asia-Pacific, Greg Storey, said. "[V.me] needs to be an extension of the customers' financial institution relationship, and one that will help the retailer convert customers."
A number of retailers, including JB Hi-Fi, Cotton On, City Beach, and Lorna Jane, have joined the V.me service, as well.
V.me was launched in the US in November 2012 to a limited number of merchants and financial institutions. When asked why the service will be launching in Australia almost a year after it was introduced in the US, Visa said it was to take heed of the lessons learned in the US.
"We have been very careful to make sure we apply the lessons learned on how integration with merchants should work with how consumers and banks interact," Storey said. "We want to make V.me the simplest and easiest experience of all.
Visa stores V.me customer information internally, removing the responsibility of securing the data from e-commerce merchants. Despite a string of hacking incidents and data leaks across the industry in recent times, Kalra is certain that consumers will feel safe using V.me.
"We have end-to-end encryption and layers upon layers of security built in," he said.
MasterCard introduced its MasterPass mobile wallet service in Australia earlier this year.