Vodafone Wallet to offer contactless card payments

Vodafone Wallet users will soon be able to make contactless card payments with their smartphones, the operator has announced. The telco has entered into partnerships with financial services firm Visa and transaction technology provider Carta Worldwide to offer the NFC SIM-based solution through the Vodafone Wallet app.

The service, which will be available on a range of Android phones, works by the user inputting their card details to the app where they are securely stored under an alias. Users are required to confirm ownership of the card through the Verified by Visa authentication system. Payments are automatically debited from the selected card, and a four-digit PIN is required for higher value payments.

“The digital wallet just took another step forward,” Mark Ritzmann, Head of mCommerce at Vodafone Group said. “With a few clicks, customers will be able to add payment cards to their Vodafone Wallet and use Android smartphones to pay at contactless terminals. Thanks to our agreements with Visa and Carta Worldwide, using bank cards stored on Vodafone Wallet is fast, secure and simple.”

Jeremy Nicholds, Executive Director Mobile at Visa Europe, said: “We are really excited to bring this new payment service together with Vodafone, which will enable Visa credit and debit cards to be used for mobile contactless payments. This initiative is part of Visa’s strategy to accelerate mobile payments and make it easier for banks to enable their cards to make payments on mobile phones and for consumers to pay in the most secure and convenient way.”

Vodafone Wallet is available in Germany, Spain, the UK, Italy and the Netherlands, and the operator said the new service will be launched in the second quarter of 2015. Customers are already able to add loyalty cards into the Wallet, as well as make payments with Vodafone SmartPass which was launched in 2013.

Brian Semkiw, CEO of Carta Worldwide, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Vodafone to make mobile payments the most simple, convenient and secure way to pay. Our next generation platform is built to provide the highest security and reliability standards. At the same time, the flexibility of our platform has allowed us to develop this innovative service with Vodafone in record time.”

Meanwhile in other Vodafone news, the telco has appointed Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of German media group Axel Springer, as Non-Executive Director. Döpfner has been with Axel Springer since 1998, first as Editor-in-Chief for the Die Welt newspaper, and as group CEO since 2002.

Among Döpfner’s other professional achievements are several honorary offices, including at the American Academy, the American Jewish Committee and the European Publishers Council (EPC). He is also a board member at Time Warner and Warner Music Group.

“Mathias is one of the leading visionaries of the global media industry who has led his business through a highly successful transition into digital and international markets. I am delighted to welcome him to the board,” said Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee.

Vodafone also announced Senior Independent Director Luc Vandevelde will stand down from the board, effective from the company’s annual general meeting on 28 July. “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Luc for his significant contribution over more than a decade and wish him well for the future,” Kleisterlee said.

Vandevelde will be replaced by Philip Yea, while it was also announced Val Gooding will chair the firm’s Remuneration Committee. Döpfner’s position on the board will be effective from 1 April.

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