Visa, MasterCard sign European mobile payment partnerships

Last week both Visa and MasterCard announced European mobile payments partnerships.  On Monday, MasterCard announced that it has entered into a mobile payments partnership with Deutsche Telekom, while Visa announced on Friday that it had joined forces with Telefonica Digital to offer a similar service.

The agreement between Visa (San Francisco, Calif., USA) and Telefonica Digital (Madrid) will see both companies co-invest in the development of products and services in areas such as mobile wallet, contactless payments (NFC), acquirer services for mobile point of sale, and merchant offers. The agreement builds on Telefónica and Visa Europe's existing relationship in markets such as the UK and Ireland, formalizing it at a Europe-wide level and establishing Visa Europe as Telefónica's preferred partner for the issuance of branded payments cards and the development of related mobile payment services, says both companies.

 “Visa has been an important partner for a number of years in Europe, helping us to trial, test and ultimately launch mobile payments products,” said Joaquin Mata, director of Financial Services at Telefónica Digital. “This market has enormous untapped potential and through this partnership with Visa Europe we aim to unlock significant new business opportunities.”

According to the companies, Telefónica is committed to striking wide-ranging, open partnerships with a range of companies in order to develop mobile commerce services. In addition to Visa Europe, it has recently formed partnerships with Sybase and Giesecke and Devrient.

The agreement between MasterCard (Purchase, N.Y., USA) and Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) involves Deutsche Telekom delivering smart payments to its 93 million mobile customers across Europe.

The initial deployments will begin in Poland and Germany and will include the introduction of a mobile wallet service in 2013.  The platform will be open to other issuing banks and partners, according to the Wall Street Journal, and MasterCard products will be issued through Deutsche Telekom’s subsidiary ClickandBuy.

According to MasterCard’s Mobile Payments Readiness Index, which was released in May, both Poland and Germany were in the lower half of countries considered “ready” to adopt mobile payments. The scores were based on six different components: environment, infrastructure, regulation, consumer readiness, financial services and mobile commerce clusters.

According to MasterCard, Germany has a strong environment, regulatory structure, and widely distributed and affordable financial services; but the country falls short when it comes to levels of investment in telecom, as well as consumer readiness.

Although Poland is ranked in the bottom ten in terms of readiness, the index suggests that the problem has more to do with education rather than economics or penetration.  According to the Index, partnerships between telcos and banks in Poland are already beginning to take shape.


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