Visa unveils new digital payment platform

Faith Merino · May 11, 2011 · Short URL:

Visa's new "digital wallet" will allow for one-click payments online, along with other cool features

As Visa promised, it has lifted the veil on its new electronic payments platform, which is designed for point-of-sale payments and the ever-valuable one-click onlinepayment option, as well as traditional retail, mobile commerce, and f-commerce (Facebook commerce). Visa’s new digital wallet will be rolling out to the U.S. and Canada this fall and features include click-to-buy (a one-click shopping solution), a cross-channel payments solution, preference management, and merchant offers.

The click-to-buy feature will allow users to shop and pay by simply entering an email address, screen name, or password instead of a card number, billing address, expiration date, etc. Additionally, the company says it’s exploring “dynamic authentication technologies” for extra security. This will truly do wonders my online shopping experience, since half the time the process of getting out my credit card and typing out all of my information is enough to deter me from making a purchase. For a while I took to keeping a handwritten note with all of my credit card information by my computer, but at some point I realized that was really dumb…

Another key feature of the new platform is Visa’s cross-channel payment solution, which essentially means that the account can be used in virtually any shopping situation—whether it’s mobile, e-commerce, f-commerce, or retail. And the kicker: Visa’s digital wallet platform will actually aggregate all of your accounts—both Visa and non-Visa—into one spot for your shopping needs. This means that the platform will actually store other cards in addition to Visa, including MasterCard and American Express.

The preference management feature will allow users to customize their digital wallets and control specific features, like which accounts will be used to make a purchase depending on merchant type or purchase amount.

And finally the merchant offers feature is an opt-in service that will deliver deals and discounts on users’ favorite merchants.

"The widespread adoption of Internet and mobile technology is changing the way people connect and transact across the globe, so we're focused on delivering locally-tailored payments products and services,"  said Visa Chairman and CEO Joseph W. Saunders in a statement. "We are introducing new solutions for e-commerce and mobile devices that provide the same 'Visa-quality' experience--convenience, reliability and security--people enjoy when using their Visa cards at a retail location. In doing so, we are accelerating the global shift to digital payments by harnessing our brand, products, network and 50-plus years of payments experience."

It will be interesting to see how Visa’s new platform stacks up against American Express’s recently launched digital payment platform Serve, which allows users to make purchases or person-to-person payments online via their mobile phones. 

Of course, PayPal has long been the reigning champion in the electronic payments camp, so it's difficult to say who will win out--PayPal, with its ten-year history of solid and secure online transactions (well, not so much in the beginning, when it lost tens of millions of dollars to fraud), or the big financial institutions, which three-quarters of the U.S. population already use and know.

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