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05 March 2013

Samsung and Visa announce NFC payments plan that cuts out the carriers

The handset maker and payments network have announced a plan to pre-load Visa's payWave applet on embedded secure elements in "selected" next generation Samsung devices — potentially enabling banks to offer NFC payments without any involvement from the mobile network operators.

Visa and Samsung have announced a global strategic alliance that offers the possibility of enabling banks to offer NFC payments services to their customers — without the need to involve a consumer's mobile network operator.

The deal involves linking together NFC trusted service managers operated by Visa and by Samsung and has two main parts:

  • Samsung has taken out a global Visa payWave license and agreed to pre-load Visa's payWave mobile payments applet onto embedded secure elements on "selected" next generation Samsung NFC devices.
  • Financial institutions will then be able to use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service, which will be linked to the Samsung KSM (Key Management System), to securely download customers' payment account information onto the embedded secure element over the air.

The success of the venture will revolve around whether mobile network operators will be willing to provide subscribers with Samsung phones that have this capability enabled. That's something few have been willing to do for Google Wallet, which works in a similar way, and a subject that is still to be resolved by Visa and Samsung.

"We still need to have that business discussion around access to the secure element," Bill Gajda, Visa's head of mobile products, told a press conference at Mobile World Congress 2013 today.

"This announcement represents a partnership between two pioneering and innovative global entities to create an exciting and engaging service," says Mariano Dima, executive vice president at Visa Europe, in an official statement announcing the deal. "A Samsung device equipped with the Visa contactless payment service is a powerful proposition and will allow us to make mobile payments a reality for people around the world."

"Samsung has been a pioneer in NFC devices and is again leading the way in enabling NFC-based mobile payments. The partnership with Visa represents a step towards a global mobile payment platform," adds Dr Won-Pyo Hong, president and head of media solution center at Samsung Electronics. "We believe that we have a strong value proposition for financial institutions that will ultimately allow consumer choice in NFC payments."


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