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Visa announces digital wallet for paying online or by waving a phone

May 11, 2011 | 10:28 am

Visa said Wednesday that it would roll out a digital wallet service this fall that can be used to buy things online or with the wave of a smartphone.

The San Francisco company, which is the world's largest processor of credit and debit card payments, its digital wallet will be first launched in the U.S. and Canada, with the cooperation of major card issuers, banks, credit unions and retailers.

The digital wallet will store Visa and non-Visa accounts and support near-field-communication payments with smartphones compatible with Visa's payWave scanners installed in retail locations. PayWave, already found in some stores, allows users to wave a special keytag or computer-chip equipped credit card over a scanner to pay for goods or services.

Visa said its digital wallet would be able to handle payments online, using a phone, on social networks and person-to-person payments as well.

The digital wallet will also include a "click-to-buy" option, which will work with online retail websites to allow users to pay by "entering an email address, alias or online ID and password, instead of a billing address, account number and expiration date," Visa said in statement. 

Among the financial institutions Visa said it was working with on the digital wallet are Barclaycard US, BB&T Corporation, Card Services for Credit Unions (CSCU), ICBA Bancard, First Financial Bank of Ohio, Nordstrom, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank, PSCU Financial Services, Regions Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group (in the U.S. and Canada) and US Bank.

In response to Visa's entry into the digital wallet space, PayPal said it had spent years doing what Visa was looking to build.

"It's clear that the payments industry is starting to look more and more like PayPal," Sara Gorman, a PayPal spokeswoman, said in a statement. "PayPal was built 12 years ago, because traditional payment methods weren't designed for the digital world. We're light years ahead: More than 98 million people around the world have already trusted us with their digital wallets." 

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

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