Visa has announced the launch of its Visa Ready Partner Program, intended “to accelerate the introduction of innovative payment solutions globally and further drive the global migration from cash to electronic payments.”
“The pace of innovation in the payments industry requires a new approach that ensures innovative payment methods can be tested, approved and commercialized quickly,” said Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa Inc. “While it is critical that we ensure new payment methods are secure and reliable, it is equally important to allow great ideas to become new ways to pay and be paid.”
While Visa has an existing program for the approval of mobile NFC-enabled devices, this new program aims to help mobile device manufacturers, technology partners, mobile network operators, and others by providing applications and tools which: enable the development of mobile acceptance solutions, open up payment gateways through open application program interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs), and guide partners and providers through the approval process by supply documentation and resources.
The program is a resource for developers to determine whether devices, software and other technologies used to initiate or accept Visa payments are compatible with Visa’s requirements, which Visa says, varies by country.
The Visa Ready Partner Program provides a framework for the collaboration with Visa, as well as guidance and best practices to access the power of the Visa network. Among those that will benefit from the new initiative are mobile point-of-sale acceptance (mPOS) providers, mobile NFC-enabled device manufacturers, and chip and platform providers — already playing a critical role in enabling new payment solutions.
The new partner program will also make it easier for financial institutions and merchants to adopt new payment methods that are approved. The program will use existing approval and certification processes from payments industry standards bodies and will rely on labs certified by EMVCo and the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SCC) to conduct testing of new payment solutions. Devices and solutions that are approved by Visa will feature a new symbol that says they are “Visa Ready.”
Mobile phones are transforming the consumer shopping experience by allowing consumers to make purchases with a wave of their smartphone. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology — the short-range communications standard that transforms mobile phones into payment devices is expected to reach critical mass in 2013. According to ABI Research, more than 280 million NFC-enabled devices are expected to ship in 2013.
As part of the Visa Ready Partner Program, Visa is streamlining its compliance testing process for both mobile NFC devices and secure chips that host the Visa payWave application. It will include establishing guidelines for technical, security and usability testing; ensuring Visa transactions from NFC mobile devices are compliant with the global standard; and establishing a required signal range for mobile NFC-enabled devices hosting the Visa payWave application.
Visa’s innovations enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products.