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Visa Ready Expands To Wearables, IoT

As payments moves beyond plastic cards, the goal is to make ‘virtually any’ physical place into a commerce location.

Visa Ready, the credit card company’s initiative to help integrate Visa payments into a variety of tech and retail environments, is getting expanded to include IoT, wearables, and automotive among its list of applicable uses.

Visa previewed the enhanced features at the kickoff of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It also brought along a host of partners including Accenture, Coin, and Samsung as well as wearable manufacturers like Pebble and Chronos.

The program is meant to provide participating companies with a method of creating an easier path to purchase in areas that don’t already have a well-built infrastructure. For the new expansion, that means wearables are the first targets.

Visa believes that wearables are the next step from mobile in creating a more connected world. Luke Fromowitz, co-founder and CTO, Chronos said “there is no quicker or more convenient method for payment than tapping your Chronos powered watch at the register.” Ensuring that not only can payments be made through wearables, but that those payments are safe and secure (a major concern for prospective mobile payment users) is the stated goal for the program.

Visa Ready will provide wearable providers like Chronos and Pebble with a framework for integrating Visa payments, and provide mobile pay services like Samsung Pay or Coin with the framework to accept those wearable payments.

“Our partnership with Visa is significant because of how it enables payment functionality on everyday devices,” said Kanishk Parashar, CEO and co-founder of Coin. “This is a big opportunity for the rapidly growing wearables market, projected to reach $53 billion in sales by 2019.”

Among the hurdles that have prevented wider adoption of mobile payments by consumers is the persistent perception that they are insecure. A Gallup poll found that only 13 percent of smartphone owners use them and security is the chief concern. The worry, for many consumers, that their financial information could be easily stolen from their phones with little recourse.

The same goes for wearables. To combat this, mobile pay providers and wearable manufacturers have both stepped up their security games in recent months. One way that they, and now Visa, have done so is through “tokenization” — the use of a code…..

Visa claims that Visa Ready will provide mobile pay providers and wearables with a simple way of integrating tokenization.

Visa hopes to bring Visa Ready to other areas, including connected cars, smart TVs, and public transportation, turning virtually any moment and any location into a chance for a retail connection. This could open up huge windows for businesses to expand their physical engagement outside of the store and into public parks, buses and trains, concert venues, or any other place where targeting a customer could lead to a sale.

“More and more, consumers are relying on smart appliances and connected devices to make their lives easier,” said Jim McCarthy, Visa’s EVP of innovation and strategic partnerships. “By adding payments to these devices, we are turning virtually any Internet connection into a commerce experience – making secure payments seamless, and ultimately more accessible, to merchants and consumers.”

About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.