Visa today announced the launch of Visa Checkout, a payment service that replaces V.me and enables consumers throughout the United States, Canada and Australia to pay for goods online, on any device, in just a few clicks, according to a press release.
„As people around the world spend more time and money online, particularly using mobile devices, they are demanding a fast, secure and frictionless way to shop using the payment cards they already know and trust,” Charlie Scharf, Visa’s CEO, said in a press release. „Through insights provided by our cardholders, financial institutions and merchant partners, we designed an online payment experience that continues to deliver on this promise, bringing us closer to the simplicity and speed of the ‘swipe’ in the online world.”
According to data from comScore, in the first quarter of 2014, 47 percent of total eCommerce spending in the United States was done with a Visa product. Security, ease of use and loyalty benefits were among the top reasons cited by cardholders when asked why they prefer to use their Visa account when making online purchases.
Consumers can enroll any Visa debit or credit card or even other branded cards in Checkout to make purchases from a PC, mobile device or within a mobile app. Once enrolled, shoppers simply provide their username and password to complete the payment process without ever having to leave the merchant’s website.
„It’s yet another black day for mobile wallets.The Visa Checkout service essentially replaces V.me, Visa’s mobile wallet product, and can be seen as a pullback from mobile payments at the point of sale into the simpler e-commerce and m-commerce space.”, according to bankinnovation.net. The www.v.me URL now forwards to Visa Checkout.
The Visa Checkout service allows users to check out in a PayPal-like manner on a number of partner websites. It’s hard to tell if V.Me is being rebranded as Visa Checkout or if one product is being replaced by another.
“V.Me wasn’t wildly successful and there were some issues with it,” said James Wester, research director for global payments at IDC. “One of the things Visa has to deal with is that it has no connection to consumer or merchants — the bank remains the issuer in the transactions. It’s hard to insert yourself into a payment when you have no access to begin with.”
Visa CEO Charlie Scharf said today that, “The important thing is this is not a wallet… it’s a digital form of the card you love.” Scharf continued to downplay digital wallets, saying, “[This is] just about simplification of payment… When you talk to consumers and you talk about wallets and you hear what they say… most consumers don’t understand the concept of a digital wallet.”
MasterCard made a similar move at the end of 2013 with MasterPass, pulling back from the point of sale into the safer world of online and mobile commerce.
Visa slighted digital wallets in its Visa Checkout press release, as well. Senior vice president of digital solutions at Visa, Sam Shrauger, said “People aren’t looking for another wallet — they just want a simpler way to pay online, particularly on mobile devices, and that’s exactly what we designed Visa Checkout to do.”
Wester thinks that this is a smart move on Visa’s part:
I think that this is something Visa had to do. Visa needed to make it less about calling it a digital wallet and getting away from that [phrase] and saying “Let’s stop talking about mobile wallets but just paying with your phone and making difficult transactions easier,” is probably smart… It’s a good stepping stone towards increasing their mobile presence and understanding mobile transactions, in general.
“How a transaction happens doesn’t matter — what matters is how easy it is,” Wester added. It looks like Visa agrees. By moving away from wallets towards simplifying e-commerce transactions, Visa Checkout looks to help Visa reclaim some ground in the digital payments space.
Visa said in a statement it will drive broad awareness for Visa Checkout through a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, launching today in digital and social channels, and on television later this year. The campaign will feature participating merchants and a broad range of consumer offers and promotions.
Leading payments card issuers, community banks, and credit unions are all participating in Visa Checkout. This includes more than 180 financial institutions and organizations around the world such as: Bank of America, BB&T Corporation, BBVA Compass, Card Services for Credit Unions – CSCU, Chase, Citi, ICBA Bancard, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank N.A., Regions Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.
With the launch of Visa Checkout, a new mobile SDK is also available, allowing developers to build and implement a native in-app checkout experience for iOS and Android-based devices, according to a press release.
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