The telecoms giant, which has 400m customers in more than thirty countries, is working with Visa to introduce a global Vodafone Mobile Wallet. Subscribers in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the UK will be the first to get the new service, beginning this financial year.
The deal will see the two companies working together to develop a Vodafone-branded proposition that will be offered to consumers across Vodafone's customer base of 398m subscribers in more than 30 countries on five continents. The service will run on Visa's payment network and will use the payments network's product suite and brand.
The new Vodafone mobile payment proposition will be based on the Visa prepaid account and will be offered to consumers in partnership with Visa issuers. "In developed countries across Europe, North America and Australia, with a mature infrastructure for electronic payments, users of the Vodafone stored value account will be able to make purchases at the point of sale using NFC," say the partners.
The service will initially be launched in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the UK, starting "in the coming financial year", which begins on 1 April 2012. Other countries within Vodafone's global portfolio will follow.
Vodafone and Visa will also work together to enable Visa issuers to deliver mobile payments globally via a platform that will be open to all parties — financial institutions, retailers, transport and utility companies will all be able to host their services within a new Vodafone mobile wallet that will store loyalty scheme points and gift voucher credits as well as stored value accounts and other services.
"The Vodafone mobile wallet represents the next stage of the smartphone revolution," says Vittorio Colao, Vodafone's group CEO. "It offers our customers the speed, simplicity and convenience of managing their everyday transactions with a single wave or tap of their smartphone, using innovative and reliable services developed by Vodafone and Visa — technology and providers they can trust. Our mobile wallet will be open to any service provider and we are committed to enable all partners to provide our joint customers the richest service portfolio possible."
"Our partnership with Vodafone represents a huge stride forward for mobile payments," adds Peter Ayliffe, CEO of Visa Europe. "Visa's future of payments initiative is more than just a promise: These services are real, tangible and coming to the mainstream consumer market in the very near future. Any Visa issuer across these key markets will be able to work with Visa and Vodafone to enable mobile payments for their customers, backed by all the security, trust and global acceptance the Visa brand represents."
"The convergence of global payment networks, such as VisaNet, with leading mobile telecommunication networks, such as Vodafone, has the potential to transform the way people pay and get paid the world over," explains John Partridge, president of Visa Inc. "Visa's relationship with Vodafone will assist financial institutions in both developed and developing countries to offer Visa-quality payments to new and existing account holders."
"Today's agreement forms part of Vodafone's broader mobile commerce strategy to provide consumers with a comprehensive mobile-based alternative to the cash and cards within their wallets and purses," says the carrier. "Vodafone's platform will be open to all partners in the relevant industries.
"Vodafone is in discussions with a large number of service providers — including banks, retailers, transport and utility companies, event organisers, smartphone application developers and advertisers — to host a broad range of services within an innovative new Vodafone 'virtual' mobile wallet."