SLOVAKIA: Visa has declared war on physical cash as it looks to drive the uptake of mobile payment services, predicting that over 50 million contactless payments will be made every month across Europe by the end of 2013.
Visa head of mobile business, Sandra Alzetta, said the company expects the arrival of NFC smartphones from firms like Samsung, equipped with Visa's mobile PayWave and Mobile Wallet services, to drive this growth in European mobile payments.
"From our perspective mobile is of enormous importance. By 2020 half our volume in Europe will be generated by a mobile phone," she said during a conference attended by V3. "Obviously we love plastic and it's worked very well for us but we have this focus on mobile because it means our customers have a device in their hands that is always on them and is personal to them."
She went on to say that the benefits mobile payment technologies offer over physical cash are another reason the firm is so keen to push the uptake of mobile technologies.
"We at Visa hate cash with a passion. It's dirty and inefficient, so we're thrilled mobile gives us more ways to attack cash. One way it does this is with small retailers who for whatever reason haven't started taking card, offering them an ideal way to upgrade and secondly for the informal person to person payments where they still use cash," said Alzetta.
Alzetta said the firm has already begun cementing strategic partnerships with key players in the mobile industry to increase the number of smartphones coming with its payment services pre-installed. "We believe partnerships are essential. We don't believe we can do this ourselves. We don't believe anyone can," she said.
"Today we're talking with Telefonica but we also have a deal with Vodafone and we're working with lots of people. We also have Samsung and by the end of this year we'll have over 80 devices running Visa PayWave."
As a result of these types of deals, the Visa head said the boom in mobile will lead to a wider increase in the number of contactless payments being made in the region. She said the company expects to see at least 52 million contactless payments occur per month by the end of the year.
Alzetta said Visa also expects to see the number of retailers supporting contactless payments to rise. She said the number of contactless terminals in Europe will rise from 853,000 to one million by the end of the year.
The Visa chief said the rise of mobile will lead to new opportunities for businesses of all sizes, letting small vendors decrease the costs of taking payments and letting bigger businesses use the payment data to offer tailored advertising to potential customers. Alzetta also cited interest in NFC at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona as proof the strategy is already working.
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