Saturday, September 27, 2008

Visa to Turn Android, Nokia Phones Into Credit Cards

Visa to Turn Android, Nokia Phones Into Credit Cards

By Walaika Haskins

E-Commerce Times

Visa has become the latest player to try and start a fire under mobile payments and mobile commerce, a concept that in the U.S. has remained mostly in the imagination over the last decade. Visa's first partners in its roll-out are Nokia and Google's Android platform. Its partnership with a major credit company is a win for Google's fledgling mobile operating system.

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Visa announced plans Thursday to develop payment and payment-related services for both Nokia (NYSE: NOK) Latest News about Nokia mobile handsets and those running Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Latest News about Google new Android platform. In addition, Visa announced a pilot program that enables U.S. Bank Visa cardholders to transfer money using a mobile phone.

The announcement looks to revive the efforts of credit card companies to push consumers toward mobile payments and mobile commerce, a concept that looked promising around the turn of the century but floundered in in the U.S. following the dot-com bust. Other efforts involving contactless payment devices in the mid-2000s also failed to gain widespread consumer adoption.

However, Visa's announcement could mark a turnaround.

"I definitely see the value in this from a functionality standpoint. Visa has been very calculated in establishing a much more global strategy surrounding the mobile channel. Rather than looking at an individual market and latching on to what's going on there, they are really trying to focus on the different things that are happening in different markets," Bruce Cundiff, a Javelin Strategy analyst, told the E-Commerce Times.
Android and Visa

Developing applications for the Android platform is central to Visa's mobile application push, the company said. The credit card company's mobile applications will enable owners of mobile devices running the Google operating system to receive notifications about transaction activity on their accounts; obtain offers from a wide array of merchants; and use Android's built-in location-based technology to map nearby merchants to redeem Visa offers as well as locate ATMs participating in the Visa network New HP LaserJet P4014n Printer Starting at $699 after $100 instant savings..

Chase Visa cardholders will have the first crack at the new mobile applications. Visa, however, said it will work to make the services available to account holders of other financial institutions. The credit card provider is also developing a payment application to enable Android device owners to make mobile payments at retail locations around the country and over wireless networks.

In its deal with Google, Visa is clearly banking on some level of success for Android, Cundiff said.

"[The Android platform] is still very new. There's just one phone out there that T-Mobile Latest News about T-Mobile announced earlier this week, so that's about it. It's not as though Android has taken over as a viable platform. But, Visa jumping in at this early stage is definitely a leadership role that they need to take," he explained.

Consumers come out on top with both services because they add layers of protection against identity theft and credit card fraud, according to Cundiff.

"The ability to detect fraud and fraudulent transactions or even prevent it before it happens -- involving the consumer in that process is paramount. What Visa is doing is really working at the transaction level -- has huge implications for mitigating identity theft and fraudulent transactions. It also gives consumers peace of mind," he pointed out.

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