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Release Management Authors: Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Carmen Gonzalez, Mark R. Hinkle

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Visa Introduces Visa Ready Partner Program

Visa today launched a new partner program designed to accelerate the introduction of innovative payment solutions globally and further drive the global migration from cash to electronic payments. The Visa Ready Partner Program paves the way for mobile device manufacturers, technology partners, mobile network operators, and others, to easily navigate the complexities of the payments ecosystem, and to gain access to Visa IP, licenses and best practices.

“The pace of innovation in the payments industry requires a new approach that ensures innovative payment methods can be tested, approved and commercialized quickly,” said Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa Inc. “While it is critical that we ensure new payment methods are secure and reliable, it is equally important to allow great ideas to become new ways to pay and be paid.”

The Visa Ready Partner Program is designed to provide innovators a path to ensure that devices, software and solutions used to initiate or accept Visa payments are compatible with Visa’s requirements, which may vary by country. It also provides a framework for the collaboration with Visa, as well as guidance and best practices to access the power of the Visa network. Mobile point-of-sale acceptance (mPOS) providers, mobile NFC-enabled device manufacturers, and chip and platform providers are among the stakeholders that are already playing a critical role in enabling new ways to pay and that will benefit from the Visa Ready Partner Program.

For financial institutions and merchants, the Visa Ready Partner Program will make it easier for them to adopt new, innovative payment methods that are approved by Visa and can help them drive business growth by expanding the use and acceptance of electronic payments globally. The program will use existing approval and certification processes from payments industry standards bodies and will rely on labs certified by EMVCo and the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SCC) to conduct testing of new payment solutions.

At launch, the Visa Ready Partner Program encompasses Visa’s existing program for the approval of mobile NFC-enabled devices, as well as a new program to enable mobile point-of-sale acceptance solutions that meet local requirements. In addition, Visa has developed the Visa Ready symbol to identify payment devices and solutions approved for use with Visa payments.

Visa Ready for Mobile Acceptance (mPOS) Solutions

Mobile technology is enabling merchants of all sizes to accept card payments. Used everywhere from the local farmers market to soft drink distributors, mobile devices paired with payment card readers are expanding the reach of electronic payments globally. As part of the Visa Ready Partner Program, Visa is paving the way for mPOS providers to accelerate the deployment of mobile point-of-sale acceptance solutions by:

  • Defining mPOS requirements and best practices to support the open development of commercially viable solutions and services, while upholding Visa’s principles of security, brand integrity and interoperability.
  • Providing applications, tools and services to enable the development of mobile acceptance solutions compatible with magnetic-stripe, EMV-chip, and contactless-card payments.
  • Making available open API (Application Program Interface) and SDK (Software Development Kit) to allow mPOS solutions providers in select markets to connect to Visa via a number of payment gateways, including CyberSource and Authorize.Net, acquired by Visa Inc. in 2010.
  • Providing access to documentation and resources to guide partners and vendors through the Visa approval process.
  • Providing access to the Visa Ready symbol, collateral and brand-usage guidelines that can be used to market and promote Visa-approved mPOS solutions.

Visa Ready for Mobile (NFC) Payments

Mobile phones are also transforming the consumer shopping experience, allowing consumers to make purchases with a wave of their smartphone. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the short-range communications standard that transforms mobile phones into payment devices, is expected to reach critical mass in 2013. According to ABI Research, more than 280 million NFC-enabled devices are expected to ship in 2013.1

As part of the Visa Ready Partner program, Visa is streamlining its compliance testing process for both mobile NFC devices and secure chips that host the Visa payWave application by:

  • Establishing clear guidelines for extensive technical, security and usability testing with respect to the Visa payment functionality.
  • Ensuring Visa transactions initiated with NFC mobile devices are compliant with the global standard for chip-enabled payments.
  • Establishing a required signal range for mobile NFC-enabled devices hosting the Visa payWave application.
  • Providing NFC device manufacturers with a Visa Ready symbol that can be used to market and promote mobile devices as approved for use with Visa payWave.

Visa has played a leadership role in establishing global standards for new and emerging payment methods that are compatible with existing technology and security standards in countries around the world. The Visa Ready Partner Program will enable Visa and our partners to innovate responsibly, developing solutions that offer the same high degree of security, reliability and scale consumers have come to expect from Visa.

About Visa Inc.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 24,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit corporate.visa.com.

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 36 countries across Europe. Visa Europe works at the forefront of technology to create the services and infrastructure which enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees. Since 2004, Visa Europe has been independent of Visa Inc. and incorporated in the UK, with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual license in Europe. Both companies work in partnership to enable global Visa payments. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments. For more information, please visit www.visaeurope.com

1 Source: ABI Research, November 21, 2012 http://www.abiresearch.com/press/nfc-will-come-out-of-the-trial-phase-in-2013-as-28

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