Visa Europe expands mobile NFC programmes to include Poland and Turkey

20 May 2010, Visa Europe today announced the launch of two pre-commercial mobile payment projects in Poland and Turkey. The new projects represent another step towards commercialisation of mobile contactless payments across Europe. Both use the latest Visa mobile technology in Near Field Communications (NFC) handsets.

“High growth markets like Poland and Turkey offer not only a large consumer base of technology-savvy youth but also some of Europe’s most innovative banks, who quickly embrace the latest developments in electronic payments,” commented Sandra Alzetta, Head of Innovation at Visa Europe. “The convergence of payments and mobile is inevitable, and Visa is at the heart of developments to make this happen through supporting strategic mobile payments projects across Europe.”


In Poland, Visa Europe, Bank Zachodnu (BZ WBK) and the mobile operator Plus have launched the first SIM-based contactless mobile payments project in the country. Using an over-the-air (OTA) solution for remote SIM-card management, a contactless payment application will be stored on the phone’s SIM card.

Customers will be able to make low-value mobile contactless transactions anywhere contactless payments are accepted. The project represents the first service in Europe whereby consumers can walk into a Plus mobile phone shop and purchase a Samsung NFC handset capable of supporting Visa mobile payments.

BZ WBK was the first bank in Poland to launch contactless payment cards and already has over 150,000 contactless cards on the market. The initial target for the mobile project are young, technology-savvy teenagers who have already adopted contactless payments on cards. By the end of the year, the number of contactless terminals in Poland is projected to reach more than 12,000 and the number of contactless cards to top two million cards, provided by eight Visa Europe member banks, including the first issuer of these cards in Poland, BZ WBK.


In Turkey, Visa Europe has launched NFC mobile payment trials with the customers belonging to six leading banks: Denizbank, Finansbank, Halkbank, İş Bankası, Vakıfbank and Ziraat Bankası. The programmes are designed as early field trials to test the customer experience and to understand what is needed for future commercialisation of mobile payments. The project also represents a significant, concerted effort by Visa issuing banks in Turkey to cooperate on basic technical processes and infrastructure to achieve wider market momentum.

Turkey represents one of the fastest growing markets for electronic payments in Europe and has already embraced contactless technology for payment cards. As of March 2010, over one million contactless Visa payment cards have been issued in Turkey thanks to 19 commercial card programmes. The 30,000 locations providing the underlying acceptance infrastructure also support the mobile projects.

Alzetta continued: “Our strategy is to extend cashless payments, particularly for low-value transactions through contactless and mobile transactions and, in future, the use of mobiles for remote (online) and person-to-person (P2P) payments.”

Visa Europe is continuing to conduct research and pilot studies to specify consumer preferences and develop products according to market needs. In addition to Poland and Turkey, Visa contactless mobile payment projects have taken place in a number of countries, including Finland, France, Italy, Switzerland, UK and Spain.



About Visa Europe

In Europe, there are over 390 million Visa debit, credit and commercial cards. In the 12 months ending December 2009 those cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of €1.4 trillion.

11.2% of consumer spending at point of sale in Europe is with a Visa card. Visa Europe is owned and operated by more than 4,000 European member banks and was incorporated in July 2004.

In October 2007, Visa Europe became independent of the new global Visa Inc., with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. As a dedicated European payment system it 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.

Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition, Visa/PLUS is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in over 200 countries.

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Contact details:

Visa Europe press office
Tel: +44 (0)20 7795 5336