The NFC system allows financial institutions and mobile network operators to wirelessly connect NFC-enabled gadgets with Visa accounts

Visa announced a mobile payments venture today at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, which will allow customers to securely pay for everyday items and download account information wirelessly using their smartphones.

Visa joined forces with Oberthur Technologies to introduce a Near Field Communication (NFC) system that allows financial institutions and mobile network operators to wirelessly connect NFC-enabled gadgets with Visa accounts.

Here's how it works -- a customer with a NFC-enabled phone passes Visa's compliance testing from their operator, and contacts the financial institution which provided their Visa account asking to activate the mobile payments option. Visa then asks the customer to enter a password in order to authenticate the account holder, and initiates the exchange of secure keys that allows all parties involved to access the NFC-enabled chip on the phone.

Once the NFC chip is unlocked, a secure download of account information to the phone ensues, and the customer is able to make mobile payments via the touch of their NFC-enabled gadget.

"In the same way we have enabled the secure provisioning of payment cards for decades, we are now using mobile technology to securely provision mobile payment accounts over the air," said Bill Gajda, head of Mobile Products for Visa. "Financial institutions, mobile network operators, and even transit operators now have a simple, secure process to activate payment applications at scale and make mobile payments part of everyday life for consumers around the world."

Those who use the new Visa mobile payment system will gain access to applications such as Visa's payWave, which is Visa's contactless payment technology.

Visa is not new to the NFC arena. Last February, Visa used the iPhone in a NFC payment trial in Europe after conducting a survey to see how much interest there was in the system.

Later in April 2011, Visa announced that it had teamed up with Samsung for a NFC venture for the London 2012 Olympics. The companies will launch a Olympics and Paralympics Games mobile handset in London that will use Visa's payment application and a Visa SIM card.

Source: Visa

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