Visa mobile payment system to launch in mid-2012

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Financial services giant Visa confirms it will launch its Near Field Communications-enabled digital wallet platform in August or September of 2012, allowing consumers to make real-world and online purchases via smartphone.

Steve Perry, commercial director for Visa Europe, announced the rollout schedule during an appearance at the company's security summit in Hamburg, Germany, and confirmed the system will incorporate rival credit card options. "It will work with not just Visa cards from multiple banks, but other cards like American Express," Perry said. "If the digital wallet isn't as sexy as my current wallet, then it won't take off."

In May, Visa announced it will collaborate with U.S. and international bank partners including US Bancorp, PNC Financial Services, Regions Financial, BB&T Corp, Toronto Dominion's TD Bank and the U.S. arm of Barclays PLC to introduce its digital wallet system, which will store customer credit and debit card account information. Visa acquired monetization platform provider PlaySpan in February, a move to accelerate its expansion into the digital and mobile commerce segments--two months later, Visa made an unspecified investment in Square, whose increasingly popular mobile payment solution enables users to accept credit and debit card purchases anywhere and anytime via iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone.

Visa (along with rivals MasterCard, Discover and American Express) also has confirmed it will join Isis, the nationwide mobile commerce joint venture spearheaded by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA. According to Isis, the additions significantly expand the payment options available to mobile subscribers, at the same time extending the fledgling network's reach to encompass payment terminals already installed at U.S. merchant locations.

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