Visa to launch V.me digital wallet by late 2012

Visa's V.me mobile wallet service will launch in three European countries by fall 2012. But it arrives late to the game and faces stiff competition from rivals.

Visa will launch its new digital wallet service dubbed V.me in France, Spain and the UK by fall 2012.

The technology allows customers to sign in and pay for goods --- in a similar way to how PayPal works --- instead of typing in their full credit or debit card details each and every time, sister site CNET reported last year when the service was first announced.

V.me allows payments to be made using NFC technology in-store, but will also be made accessible to users on the Web through PCs, laptops and tablets. Not limited to Visa cards, the service will also work with MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards.

The global payments giant said when V.me was first announced that it would be available to the public by early 2012, but the company pushed back the date.

A wider rollout of the service is expected in 2013.

Visa arrives late to the mobile payments party as Google marked earlier this month a year since it rolled out its Google Wallet technology.

Having said that, Google's digital wallet hasn't been the success the search giant wanted with the service only available on two Google smartphones --- the Nexus S 4G and the Galaxy Nexus. The search giant is hoping to boost access to its service during the 2012 London Olympics, but with less than 90 days until the Games launch, there is little hope of the long-awaited mobile payments service arriving in time.

In other yet similar news, UK mobile network O2 launched its own mobile payments application. O2 Wallet allows iOS, BlackBerry and Android to send up to £500 ($815) to other mobile users --- even if you're not on the O2 mobile network.

Also this month, Barclays Pingit extended its mobile payments service to non-Barclays customers. The service saw 20,000 UK customers sign up in just two days.

Image credit: Visa.

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