Visa bets on smartphones as credit-card acceptance devices – MarketWatch

Visa’s Tap to Phone function lets Android phones work like card readers for contactless payments.


Visa Inc. is betting that mobile phones can help grow credit-card usage and acceptance as the company formally rolls out a technology that lets Android devices serve as card-acceptance tools.

The company announced Wednesday that it was conducting a broader rollout of its Visa Tap to Phone payment-acceptance function, after piloting the feature for the past year. Tap to Phone relies on near-field communication technologies in Android phones so that sellers without traditional point-of-sale systems can use their mobile devices to accept tap-based card payments.

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Smartphones have helped drive increases in digital payments, thanks to mobile wallets and other tools that let people pay with their phones, but Visa

argues that there are also gaps on the acceptance side. “By making acceptance technology more accessible and easier to manage, it will make the value of carrying the cards and the credentials on the other side really valuable,” said Mary Kay Bowman, Visa’s global head of buyer and seller solutions.

Visa is making Tap to Phone available initially in more than 15 markets and has plans to expand to more. The system is already active in Belarus, Malaysia, Russia, Peru and South Africa, with a U.S. rollout aimed for 2021. The company is working with global banks, fintech companies and other partners on the launch.

Devices using Tap to Phone will be able to accept “all the major brands of credit cards,” not just Visa cards, Bowman said, since the function relies on the widely used EMV card standard.

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Initial uses of the Tap to Phone system have been varied, according to Bowman, who cited an example of transit conductors using mobile phones to collect fares from customers.

Visa shares have declined 0.4% over the past three months as the Dow Jones Industrial Average

has risen 6%.