Visa digital wallet service V.me launches in Oz

Visa's digital wallet service has finally landed in Australia, with availability across several major e-commerce retailers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Visa has followed through on its promise to deliver its digital wallet service V.me in Australia before Christmas, today announcing the service's launch.

From Wednesday, several major ecommerce retailers in Australia will accept secure payment on Visa's service, including JB Hi-Fi, Flight Centre, Escape Travel, Cotton On, CatchOfTheDay, Scoopon, and DealsDirect.com.au. Similar to PayPal, V.me allows use of one username and password across all devices and websites to store the user's billing and shipping information.

"With more customers going online, we're helping retailers to simplify the online checkout experience and convert sales," Greg Storey, Visa's Head of V.me for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa, said on Wednesday.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cards from all banks in Australia are available to be uploaded to a V.me account.

V.me's adoption by all major financial institutions is crucial for Visa to be able to compete with long-time payments player PayPal, which has more than 110 million active users across the globe but is lacking in the support of Australian banks, unlike V.me.

"It's backed by financial institutions, backed by the Visa brand, and the consumers know that," Vipin Kalra, Visa Australia country manager, told ZDNet at the service's Australian announcement in July. "It brings that sense of security with the convenience of one-click shopping."

"[V.me] needs to be an extension of the customers' financial institution relationship, and one that will help the retailer convert customers," Storey added at the time.

V.me was launched in the US and the UK in 2012 to select online retailers and financial institutions. In regards to why the service took almost a year longer to launch in Australia, Visa said it wanted to learn from its launch overseas.

"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 in July. "We want to make V.me the simplest and easiest experience of all."

"We have end-to-end encryption and layers upon layers of security built in," Kalra said.

According to Visa, 43 percent of 18-29-year-olds and 37 percent of 30-49-year-olds (in a survey of 1,000 Australian respondents) would rather shop online than in-store.

Rival MasterCard introduced its MasterPass mobile wallet service in Australia earlier this year.

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