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Secure Transactions News

Wells Fargo - Visa NFC trial in its third phase

Thursday 5 July 2007

A group of employees of the bank tested the use of a NFC handset to make mobile payments in the context of the Wells Fargo Customer Experience Research Lab.

This summer, the second phase  is to take place with 30 to 50 Wells Fargo employees, equipped with NFC handsets, and able to make purchases  at merchants accepting Visa payWave contactless cards. Besides mobile payments, participants will be able to securely download their payment account information, and store and redeem mobile coupons.

Wells Fargo and Visa USA just announced, they will undertake in Q4/2007, a third phase pilot that will consist in a public trial with 300 to 500 Wells Fargo Visa cardholders and will include additional partners.

The objective of the pilot is to test a full set of applications. Beside mobile payments, participants will test loyalty applications such as receiving and redeeming mobile coupons and account management services. Pilot participants will be able to make mobile payments in stores and restaurants, securely download payment account information over-the-air, store and redeem mobile coupons, and access account management features to monitor credit or debit account activity and manage funds.

The Wells Fargo NFC trial uses the Visa Mobile Platform (cf. Smart Insights #07-02). The platform supports contactless mobile payments, Over-the-Air (OTA) personalization, account management, and coupons and direct marketing. Future versions will include solutions for remote payment, person-to-person money transfers, and remittances. “The Visa mobile platform provides mobile operators and financial institutions the opportunity to rapidly develop new mobile services utilizing the unique interactive features of handsets,” said Patrick Gauthier, senior vice president, innovation, Visa International.

Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company with US$ 486 billion (EUR 367 billion) in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance. Wells Fargo is deeply involved in mobile banking projects. The bank launched wireless banking as early as 2001, and is now piloting several approaches to mobile banking including mobile browsers, SMS or text messaging and downloadable applications. Since April 2007, Well Fargo introduced the "CEO MobileSM" service for business, which delivers key treasury reports through a secure browser session. Wells Fargo is also one of the issuers of Visa contactless cards, with announced plans to have issued 400,000 cards by end of 2006 (cf. SI #06-36).