Visa will make wearables 'Visa Ready'

Monday 29 February 2016 | 14:32 CET | Background

Visa is expanding the "Visa Ready" program to the Internet of Things, offering payment integration for watches, wearables and basically everything that accepts a secure payments chipset. In association with Honda, Visa showed a car with an in-dashboard payment option for refueling or parking. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Telecompaper with Daniel van Delft, Country Manager Netherlands for Visa.

Visa Ready is a program for the integration of payments products and services. Visa is working with makers of (mobile) payment terminals and NFC device manufacturers on various form factors.

In November, an agreement with Swatch was announced. visa has also supplied the framework for the Barclays bPay service.

A consortium of companies, such as Accenture, Coin, Giesecke & Devrient, Pay Fit and Samsung contributes to the development of products by various companies. Coin has developed a module with NFC and secure chip, which is less than a 1 euro coin. It can be processed into a key ring, smartphone case or sleeve of a jacket. All traffic on the payment platform is protected by a token service to keep safe the payment details.

Contactless refueling

At MWC Visa showed an application for the automotive industry. A Honda HR-V has a head unit running a modified version of Android 4.x. The system will indicate when the tank is nearly empty and show nearby petrol stations on the map.

On the forecourt, the driver can select an amount (or a full tank), have his car filled up and pay without leaving the car - as long as someone else is refueling. This ‘hands free forecourt’ was developed by Visa in the US and seems more suited to that market and its searing heat or blistering cold. The fuel company can and will also send coupons to the dashboard, for a discount on a snack.

A driver can also use the in-dashboard system for parking. A parking app (designed with ParkWhiz) allows drivers to push the ‘park’ button on the app to pay only for the time used at off-street parking spots. Once a parking session is ended, the elapsed time and amount paid are shown on the car dashboard, requiring the driver to press a button to complete the transaction.

A further use case is car rentals. Although those car-related use cases look compelling enough, it’s not clear from the outset what will work and what will not. In any case, every app developed by a car company will have to compete with similar apps on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It is inevitable that car manufacturers will support both ecosystems.

Visa can support all options, van Delft says. The company will offer open APIs allowing other companies to get started. He’s less of a believer in closed systems or mobile wallets that press their users in a certain direction, or are more expensive. He says that the Dutch customer tends to be well informed and very cautious with allowing companies access to transaction data.

He says any device could get a payment integration, especially when dealing with regular expenses, such as restocking supplies, public transport or paying at a sports club or gym. The Visa network facilitates a growing number of “xPay” Wallets. Visa sees its primary role as enabler while underlining that a Visa payment is globally accepted and secure.

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