Vodacom planning new mobile wallet service

New mobile wallet from Vodacom on the cards.

March 2, 2012
Vodacom Visa mobile wallet

Vodacom has confirmed plans to launch a mobile wallet on the back of an announcement by its parent, Vodafone, of a Visa-backed service for mobile phones.

However, Vodacom said that they have no deal in place with Visa yet and are in discussions with various suppliers, and “hope to make a decision soon.”

The Vodafone-branded mobile payment proposition will be based on Visa’s prepaid account and offered in partnership with Visa issuers.

Vodafone said that its mobile wallet will be able to use near field communication (NFC) technology to send encrypted data over short distances to enable secure transactions. Customer protection will be assured by the use of the latest secure SIM card and payments industry technology.

In addition to Vodafone-branded stored value accounts, the mobile wallet will also hold loyalty scheme points and gift voucher credits, which Vodafone said complements and sometimes replaces a whole class of plastic cards in the customer’s wallet or purse.

Vodafone said that it would also work together with Visa to enable Visa issuers for mobile payments globally.

“The platform will be open to all partners of all relevant industries, including financial institutions, retailers, transport and utility companies to host their services within an innovative new Vodafone mobile wallet,” Vodafone said.

It also said that all its mobile wallet services, including the service announced with Visa, will be compatible with standards currently being ratified by the GSM Association.

Vodafone said that the service will start to roll out in the coming financial year and will initially be launched in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the UK, with other countries within Vodafone’s global portfolio following thereafter.

Asked whether its service will be similar to Vodafone’s, Vodacom only said: “It’s too early to confirm any details because we’re still very early in the development process.”

Update: A previous version of this article carried the headline “Vodacom planning Visa-backed mobile wallet.” Vodacom has since clarified its previous comment on the Vodafone press release, which was: “We are planning to launch this service and are busy investigating our options with the various card suppliers.” Vodacom explained it had no deal in place with Visa, that it couldn’t say how far negotiations are beyond “we hope to make a decision soon,” and that it couldn’t confirm any of the features of its planned service yet.

Tags: Headline, mobile wallet, near field communications, NFC, Visa, Vodacom

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