Visa is partnering with the world's largest seller of mobile phones, Samsung, to make Visa-flavoured near field communication (NFC) payments an off-the-shelf option in the Korean manufacturer's future devices.
NFC payments let consumers make cash-less purchases by placing an NFC-enabled phone next to a specially designed payment terminal. The technology is far from ubiquitious in New Zealand. Snapper has a partnership with 2Degrees to provide its services on the carrier's NFC phones, and a BNZ /Vodafone joint venture saw a trial in late 2011, but nothing consumer-facing has come of that yet.
Visa's agreement sees its Mobile Provisioning Service, which authenticates transactions over the air, available for use by banks on NFC-enabled Samsung phones. In addition, Samsung will preload Visa's Pay Wave app onto its phones, the first likely to feature this is the flagship Galaxy S 4 debuting next month.
Miki Szikszai, chief exec at Snapper, says anything Visa can do to educate the market about NFC and bring the technology to mainstream is a good thing.
"In general the idea of integrating apps directly onto devices [ed: like Snapper has done with 2degrees] is a good thing. It provides consumers with choice, as long as they use industry standard methods... I don't think this announcement will lock Snapper or other players out of Samsung phones," he says.
Szikszai says he doesn't think Visa will make a play for Snapper's market in New Zealand. Visa is unlikely to target the micro-transaction level for transport, which Snapper leads in Wellington, or the sub-$20 level which sees Snapper in around 500 retailers throughout New Zealand.
"I'm a lot more interested in what they're planning on doing with terminal infrastructure at a retail and transport level. It's hard to say whether [Visa] will have an impact or not otherwise," says Szikszai.
StopPress has contacted Visa and Samsung for further information on New Zealand availability.