Instead of “cash or charge?,” the retailer of the future may
simply say “cash or phone?”
Credit card provider Visa is unveiling a so-called “digital
wallet” that is aimed at letting customers make retail purchases with their
smartphones, the company announced May 11.
The “digital wallet” will store a user’s credit
card information on their phone, and could be read by retailers who are equipped with Visa’s
Visa expects to launch it in the U.S. and Canada in fall
2011, it said.
While the technology to pay with phones has been available
for a while, observers said
this announcement was particularly noteworthy because of Visa’s importance in
the credit card market.
The new system will also simplify e-commerce transactions by
letting shoppers simply enter an email address and password into web sites,
instead of a billing address and credit card information. Analysts called
this feature a possible competitor to leading online payment service Paypal.
The digital wallet will also allow shoppers to “opt-in” to
receive discounts and promotions from merchants.
Visa is working with leading payments card issuers,
community banks, credit unions, acquirers, payments processors and merchants to
launch the new technology, it said.
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