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Visa takes a punt on m-payments

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Visa is pushing for closer collaboration between the wireless and credit card industries and has invested in the Dublin-based dotMobi domain registry.

The world's leading payment card company is taking active steps to ensure that it remains at the forefront of cashless payments solutions by launching a mobile phone platform and flirting with companies operating in the wireless space.

In a keynote speech delivered at the CTIA Wireless conference in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday, Visa USA chief executive John Philip Coghlan said mobile payment is at a critical moment in its development, and to realise its full potential requires close collaboration between the wireless and payment card industries.

The credit card giant is looking at teaming up with mobile phone companies to enable cashless transactions with a handset, known as m-payment, or m-commerce.

"Given the striking similarities in the paths our two industries have travelled, it is only natural we have arrived at a moment of convergence," said Coghlan. "In fact, the convergence of payments and mobile communications is not just logical - it is inevitable."

Coghlan emphasised Visa's commitment to mobile payments by discussing the firm's recently launched mobile phone platform and announced a number of new strategic alliances with the likes of mobile software provider Ecrio, handset manufacturer Kyocera Wireless, digital infrastructure firm Verisign, and dotMobi.

The Dublin-based domain registration firm is behind the first and only internet address designed specifically for mobile phones. Since its launch last September, more than 450,000 dot-mobi (.mobi) domains have been registered with the company which is backed leading mobile operators, network and device manufacturers, and internet content providers, such as Ericsson, Hutchison Three, Microsoft, Nokia, T-Mobile, Telefonica Moviles, and Vodafone.

"Visa is committed to working with technology leaders, large and small, that together can unlock the enormous value inherent in our respective networks," said Coghlan. "Our strategic investments and partnerships underscore our commitment to laying the foundation for secure and ubiquitous electronic payment on mobile devices."

Coghlan also released the results of a recent online survey that looked at consumer attitudes toward mobile payment. According to the study, 57 per cent of those surveyed expressed interest in getting a phone with a payment application included. The vast majority of these individuals are also prepared to pay more for a mobile device with this payment feature.

In addition, 64 per cent of consumers in the survey aged 18 to 42 years said they would consider switching mobile operators from one that does not offer mobile payment options to one that does, while 58 per cent said they'd consider switching financial institutions to gain access to mobile payment services.

Lastly, most respondents said they would prefer mobile purchases to pass through a credit or debit card network and appear on their card statement instead of appearing on a wireless bill.

"These numbers show me that younger consumers want the best of both worlds - they want the freedom and functionality of a mobile phone with the security, convenience, and ease of use of their debit or credit card," concluded Coghlan.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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