Visa nixing account numbers, tapping into wearables with cloud payment suite

To heighten security, Visa's new cloud payment suite of services replaces 16-digit account numbers with a digital token.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

Proving to be much more than a passing fad at the beginning of the year, it appears just about everyone wants to join on the wearables bandwagon.

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    The evolving technology could present some viable opportunities for another mobile trend that hasn't quite hit the mark yet in one dominant fashion, and that would be mobile payments.

    Visa is dipping into the wearables well (and by extension, the internet of things movement) with the introduction of Visa Cloud Payment Solutions.

    Also being referred to as Visa Digital Solutions, the credit card giant is moving beyond its familiar plastic medium with the promise to support gesture-based (i.e., waving), scan-based, and click-to-pay payment methods.

    To heighten security, the service replaces 16-digit account numbers with a digital token.

    Stored directly on mobile devices and based on ISO standards, tokens can be limited for use with specific merchants, mobile devices or even types of purchases.

    In the case of a lost or stolen device, tokens linked to these devices can be reissued without having to change account numbers or reissue traditional plastic credit cards.

    Visa Digital Solutions will initially be available through the Visa Ready program, with some features rolling out immediately. The full range is scheduled to be commercially available by January 2015.

    Also early next year, Visa plans to ship implementation tools to developers, including SDKs and APIs, to bring more financial institutions, merchants and third-party payment providers onto the platform.

    The debut of Visa Cloud Payment Solutions follows last week's launch of Visa Checkout, a new app designed to enable consumers to pay for goods online from virtually any mobile device.

    Visa already recruited more than 180 financial institutions to support Checkout, including Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo Bank, and Citi.

    The Checkout app's unveiling dropped amid the ribbon-cutting on Visa's new innovation hub in San Francisco.

    Housed at One Market alongside neighbors such as Autodesk and Salesforce.com, the space intends to host industry partners, Visa technologists, and other members of the Bay Area tech community for the purpose of producing the next generation of commerce applications.

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