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Visa smartens up the smart card

Visa International has developed a global payment specification for chip technology providing contact-free transactions that are faster, smarter and safer.

Visa International has announced its development of a global specification for contactless smart card payment technology that will enable both buyers and sellers to make transactions with little fuss and in next to no time.

The technology allows a chip — which can be embedded in a plastic card or within an electronic device such as a mobile phone — to interact wirelessly with a terminal to transmit payment information.

This global specification is part of Visa’s drive to make use of emerging technologies to create business tools and environments that provide both buyers and sellers with faster, convenient and secure payment systems.

“Visa’s vision of universal commerce, or u-commerce, enables people to decide when, where and how to make a payment. This new technology removes the need to insert or swipe a payment card, making it easier to pay in places where speed and convenience are important. This latest effort and other compelling initiatives tied to chip and magnetic stripe technologies move us closer to our goal of displacing cash,” explained Sue Gordon-Lathrop, Visa International’s vice president of emerging consumer environments.

The new specification is to be tested out, initially, in South Korea, where denizens already have tasted smart card technology with the nation’s public transport system. Along with telecommunications company SK Telecom, Visa is working to test the viability of using mobile phones for payment by infrared.

“We’re working with a range of technologies that provide us with a way to improve and enhance the way we make payments. They add value and utility to the traditional plastic card and, at the same time, enable us to extend secure payment to other kinds of devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and pagers,” added Gordon-Lathrop.

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