Visa gets ready for the Internet of Things

Visa is expanding its Visa Ready programme to include Internet of Things (IoT) companies, such as manufacturers of wearables, automobiles, appliances, public transportation services, clothing and other connected device.

The first IoT companies to join the Visa Ready Programme will focus on payments for wearables and automobiles. Initial Visa Ready partners include Accenture, Coin, Giesecke & Devrient, Fit Pay, and Samsung, who will work with device manufacturers including Chronos and Pebble, to help embed secure payments in consumer devices.

The number of IoT enabled devices is expected to reach 50 billion by 2020 according to Cisco, providing a huge opportunity for secure payments to be a feature in just about any form factor.

As part of the Visa Ready Programme, all participants will use the Visa Token Service (VTS) security technology that replaces sensitive payment account information found on payment cards, such as the 16-digit account number, with a unique digital identifier that can be used to process payments without exposing actual account details.

Anand Swaminathan, managing director of growth & strategy, at Accenture Digital, says: “We lead a range of initiatives with contextual commerce capabilities that could integrate Visa Token Services. We are looking forward to seeing where else Visa Token Services will help make IoT-enabled payments easier for customers across any number of situations.”

News of the initiative was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where the card scheme unveiled the latest developments in its car-based commerce programme, showcasing a new app developed in conjunction with Honda and Parkwhiz that uses the Visa Token feature and Visa Checkout to enable drivers to pay for fuel and parking from the comfort of their car.

The Internet of Things is also a hot topic for MasterCard, whose Digital Enablement Service mirrors Visa Ready for providing providing payment integration tools for connected devices. At MWC, the card scheme updated on initiatives for smartwtaches and fitness bands through its partnership programme with Coin and Wisekey, among others.