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Visa Europe muscles in to UK cloudy wallet market

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Visa Europe is filling in some of the details behind the logo it launched last year, scheduling a autumn launch for its cloud-based wallet as the payment war heats up.

V.me was announced last November, but at that time consisted of little more than a logo. Now we have a few more details including a commitment to launch in the UK, Spain and France in the next six months and a partnership with payments veteran WorldPay.

The service is intended to compete with PayPal, and stop megamarts like Amazon turning themselves into payment processors, though that process is already far advanced. Users can upload their card details to the V.me cloud and then pay for stuff at any online retailer displaying the V.me logo.

In common with other cloud-payment systems the retailer never gets to see the card details, which is good for security, and V.me isn't an intermediary like PayPal, so card insurance and refund schemes should still apply though we won't know all the details until the service finally launches in the autumn.

V.me will launch into a competitive market, with O2 Wallet getting off the ground last week and PayPal well established. O2 Wallet is more mobile focused, as befits a network operator moving into banking, V.me is available through a mobile browser and the brand could extend itself into NFC one day, but Visa already has the PayWave brand for such things.

O2 bulks out its offering with a shopping comparison service focused on mobile, while PayPal's low charges make it attractive, so it will be interesting to see how V.me differentiates itself.

New partner WorldPay currently charges merchants a £100 setup fee, and monthly subscriptions of £20 as well as a per cent or two on every transaction (depending on volume), so it will be interesting to see how V.me compares to that.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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