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Visa Europe and Wireless Dynamics Inc bring contactless payments to iPhone

Visa Europe mobile contactless payment solution brings the convenience of mobile payments to iPhone users across Europe

London, 25 January 2011 – Visa Europe and Wireless Dynamics Inc. (Wireless Dynamics) today announced that they have developed a mobile contactless payment solution that will bring Visa contactless payments to iPhone users across Europe.

iPhone users simply attach the Wireless Dynamics iCarte accessory, available through their bank or mobile operator, to their iPhone and download the companion Visa Mobile application for iCarte App from the App Store. The iCarte accessory contains an antenna and an embedded Secure Element where the Visa mobile card is safely stored.  This “card”, in turn, works with an app from the App Store to enable payments on the iPhone. Once the Visa mobile card is activated, consumers can start making purchases by simply launching the app and touching their iPhone on any contactless-enabled point of sale terminal across Europe, without the need to enter their PIN*.

The iCarte accessory is designed to equip iPhone users with the tools they need to buy goods using mobile contactless technology from a growing number of European retailers. Visa Europe’s first deployment has been launched in collaboration with Yapi Kredi bank and Turkey’s largest mobile operator, Turkcell. Yapi Kredi customers equipped with a Turkcell mobile plan will be the first who can purchase directly from their iPhone at 40,000 contactless point of sale terminals in Turkey using their iCarte payment accessory. The product is also being used in the UK with Visa staff in London with partners FIS, a leading provider of prepaid platforms, and Coventry Building Society. To further commercialise the accessory, Visa Europe will engage its member banks and partner mobile operators in Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK, all of which have rapidly maturing contactless payment infrastructure.

Sandra Alzetta, SVP, Head of Innovation at Visa Europe said: “It’s clear from trials across Europe that mobile contactless payment is a strong and compelling customer proposition. Visa recognises that consumers who use smart phones like iPhone are more likely to be early adopters of advanced payment technology. Given that the availability of a wide range of mobile devices supporting contactless services remains a key hurdle for take-up, we are overcoming this by bringing the capability to the iPhones already in their pockets.”

Ambrose Tam, President and CEO at Wireless Dynamics commented: “Working with Visa Europe to commercialise our iCarte accessories is a leap forward in increasing the number and types of mobile payment solutions. We’ve worked hard to design and build a feature-rich and appealing product for our partners and iPhone users across Europe.”

European consumer research** conducted by Visa Europe in Italy, Poland, Turkey and the UK has confirmed strong consumer demand for mobile contactless payments with 41 per cent of respondents stating that they “definitely would” or “probably would” sign up to use Visa mobile payments. Critically, this percentage increased to 57 per cent when directed at iPhone users, which demonstrates that the device is the ideal cross-over of target mobile users and consumers with positive attitudes to new payment technologies. The research also indicated that 87 per cent of iPhone users surveyed would be willing to use an accessory to enable their device for mobile contactless payments.

The Wireless Dynamics iCarte accessory is compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPhone3G on iOS 3.1 or higher. The iCarte Secure Element can be associated with multiple Visa accounts.

* The card is fitted with a security measure of an aggregate limit for contactless transactions, which is automatically re-set once your PIN is entered. Periodically cardholders will be asked for their PIN to ensure that the card remains with the genuine owner. A PIN may also be required for higher value purchases.

** The research was conducted by Incite Marketing Planning during the months of September and October 2010. Almost 4200 people were interviewed in four different countries: Turkey, the UK, Italy and Poland

About Wireless Dynamics Inc.

Wireless Dynamics Inc. is a leading provider of NFC and RFID products. The company’s SDiD™ and iCarte™ solutions enable NFC, RFID read/write and contactless payment functions for mobile devices such as Smartphones, PDAs and iPhone. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Wireless Dynamics also provides wireless product and application designs services. For more information, please visit www.wdi.ca or call +1 403-250-1818

In Europe, there are more than 400 million Visa debit, credit and commercial cards. In the 12 months ending June 2010 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, and more than 70% of that is on Visa debit cards.  

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.

For more information, visit http://www.visaeurope.com/