For #Visa, the future of payments isn’t just on phones, it’s on everything

 Visa Merchant Services London

#Visa

Visa Inc.’s idea of a connected car sounds like something out of a movie. But instead of using special effects to showcase its vision, Visa’s prototype relies on your imagination: the car itself has no wheels or doors, so you can’t drive it from the sidewalk outside Roy Thompson Hall, close to the heart of the Toronto International Film Festival. It isn’t exactly connected either: it may look like it has a sleek centre console, but it’s really just a mobile app on a mounted tablet.

The Foster City, Calif.-based financial services company is imaging a future when its clients will be able to buy and pay for gas and food on a car’s infotainment display. The navigation system will direct people to a retailer where the driver can collect loyalty points and said screen knows who’s in the driver’s seat by their fingerprint. The restaurant will know when the vehicle arrives and a waiter will be waiting with the order.

Derek Colfer, head of technology and digital innovation at Visa Canada, believes cars could become a portal for virtual payments and contain some of these futuristic features within two years. He cites a Gartner Inc. research report from January that states 250 million cars will have a built-in wireless connection by 2020.

“For a long time, we’ve been focused on phones as the next form factor for the digitization of payments, but it hasn’t caught on yet,” Colfer said during an interview. “If we get to 2020 and there are billions of devices connected to the Internet, whether it’s watches, glasses, cars, suits, purses, TVs, it will enable commerce in really interesting ways. We’re working with many folks in the ecosystem to enable this stuff.”

It seems the company is looking beyond the smartphone — even before it’s conquered it — and salivating at the chance to insert itself into places that aren’t considered points of sale today, persuading people to change their habits and use their credit cards more often. He said adoption of contactless payments is proof people are open to new payment methods.

Every second, there are 13 Visa payWave transactions in Canada, Colfer said; six months ago when there were just nine. Visa bills its contactless offering as being seven times faster than inserting a card and keying a pin. Colfer said people in Canada are using it more frequently because contactless payment makes shopping easier and more convenient.

“The more friction you put in front of a consumer, the less likely they are to buy something,” Colfer says. “When we get to that stage, it won’t be about mobile devices, it’ll be able the mobility of the Internet.”

Financial Post
cpellegrini@nationalpost.com

Christina Pellegrini | September 14, 2015 10:19 AM ET

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