V.me, Visa’s digital wallet competitor to PayPal, is scheduled to debut in Europe this fall. Visa Europe, an independent organization of 3,700 European member banks that is licensed by Visa Inc. in Europe, said the service will appear first in the UK, France and Spain.
V.me will start as an online payment system, allowing people to pay for goods through their PC, tablet or smartphone. Consumers will be able to load various credit cards, not just Visa cards, onto the wallet and pay using a simple user name and password. The goal is to eventually make it a tool for real-world offline payments using NFC (near field communication) technology, though it’s unclear when Visa is planning on rolling that out.
“Our intention is that V.me will ultimately be able to incorporate any or all of our new payment technologies, allowing our members to deliver the best possible payments experience whether face-to-face, online or in a mobile environment,” said Mariano Dima, Executive Vice President of Product and Marketing Solutions at Visa Europe, in a statement.
Visa Europe will partner with payments processor WorldPay, which will help ensure that that the digital wallet service meets the needs of UK retailers. More banks and retail partners are expected to be announced in the future.
In November, Visa announced that V.me would launch in the U.S. in early 2012 after the holidays. But so far, there hasn’t been any indication as to when that will move forward. Visa also said it expected to add in-store payments using NFC later in 2012, but again, it’s unclear if that timeline has also slipped.
Still, it shows that Visa is moving forward on its next generation payment services and continues to advance on several fronts. It has V.me, of course but it’s also partnering with Isis and Google Wallet and has backed Square. And it’s also working on launching a big NFC payment system at the London Olympics this summer with Samsung.
As we’ve mentioned before, the credit card companies and banks are still in a very strong position in the mobile payments game because they have a very trusted relationship with consumers. And while Visa is still slow in rolling out V.me, that might not be a bad idea. It’s very early in the mobile payments game and leader Google hasn’t seen much benefit from getting out of the gates quickly.
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