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“Wave N Pay”: Samsung + Visa Mobile App

Visa and Samsung announced a global alliance at the World Mobile Congress today that will allow Samsung users to pay directly from their mobiles via Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.

The Galaxy S III maker has agreed to load the Visa payWave app onto its mobile devices with NFC, turning their phone into a digital wallet, and make “wave and pay” contactless payments using their mobile at retail shops or restaurants.

A banks mobile payment program will be able to use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to securely download payment account information to Samsung devices.

The duo will also partner with financial institutions to “accelerate the availability of mobile payment solutions globally”.

Visa’s contactless payments quadrupled last year and now generate around 13 million transactions per month.

There will be a total of 1.95 billion NFC-enabled devices shipped by 2017, ABI Research forecasts

“Samsung devices enabled with Visa payment functionality will no doubt be a powerful product offering – especially in markets where paying with a mobile device is becoming commonplace,” said Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa.

Eden Zoller, Ovum consumer analyst, says the deal is “significant”  and could give NFC a “much-needed boost” given that Visa is a trusted brand, while Samsung is the top smartphone maker on the popular Android platform.

Both Samsung and Visa are committed to NFC and Ovum expect them to put major muscle behind the benefits of NFC payments, which is “desperately needed as for most consumers, mobile payments – let alone NFC – is simply not on their radar,” says Zoller.

Ovum’s latest survey indicates mobile commerce related apps were very low on their list compared to mobile games, email, and social networking.

“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,” said Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, President and Head of Media Solution Center, Samsung Electronics.

“We believe that we have a strong value proposition for financial institutions that will ultimately allow consumer choice in NFC payments.”

The Visa-Samsung global alliance is a first of its kind between a leading NFC handset manufacturer and payment network.