updated 04:10 pm EDT, Tue August 9, 2011
Visa fast tracks NFC mobile wallets
Visa on Tuesday said it would ramp up its NFC mobile payment plans. Its support for the short-range credit card payments would now include dual-mode chips that can support Europay along with domestic standards. The hardware would also bring in dynamic authentication that would introduce very specific values for each deal: even a replica card or fake data on a phone wouldn't work because it would produce different values each time.
To help drive adoption, Visa would drop a compliance rule from October 1, 2012 onwards for those companies where at least three quarters of their payment terminals had both chip-aware card readers and NFC. Firms processing Visa's payments also had to support the transactions by April 1, 2013, with Visa also bringing on a liability shift system from October 1, 2015 on that would put the blame on a store's acquirer and steer them towards potentially safer chip-only and NFC deals to avoid huge costs in the event of card fraud.
Typical authentication like PIN codes and signatures would still continue on for some time, but the credit firm wanted this to go away in the long term. Dynamic approval doesn't need an Internet connection and can work through encrypted information in the buyer's own devices.
The rollout was justified by conversations with other companies as well as mounting pressure with foreign banks giving out chip cards. Visa expects its system to deploy in earnest during the fall.
NFC is still in the very earliest stages in the US but is quickly materializing around both services and hardware. Google Wallet is testing this summer and is currently limited to MasterCard, putting heat on Visa for its own lack of activity. Isis is due to go live next year for cross-platform support.
Smartphones with NFC are also either on the market or coming soon, such as the Nexus S, Nexus S 4G, and the BlackBerry Bold 9900. Rumors persist of an NFC-capable iPhone, and at least some other BlackBerry phones like the unannounced Curve 9360 are known to be getting the technology when they ship.