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Visa Inc., though not directly involved with Visa Europe’s operations, already has an established partnership with DeviceFidelity Inc. to bring mobile contactless payments to existing handsets using microSD chips (see story). So the partnership between Visa Europe and Wireless Dynamics comes as a bit of a surprise, notes Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group LLC in Centennial, Colo.

Overall, Visa Europe’s approach is another attempt to bridge the gap while the payments industry waits for NFC-enabled mobile phones, Ablowitz says. ICarte is similar to other accessories such as microSD cards that enable non-NFC phones to make contactless mobile payments, he notes.

NFC chips enable two-way communication with other NFC chips to support the downloading of information such as mobile coupons or reward points.

In the past year, many card companies have teamed up with technology providers to create systems that provide less costly approaches to mobile payments (see story).

“It is very easy to get excited by mobile payments, and the industry is seeing all the pieces line up,” Ablowitz says.

But banks may experience some challenges with mobile payment because it is still unclear whether they or mobile operators will own the chip that contains the payment information, he contends.

Payments Source, January 25, 2011