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Visa launches 'Checkout' for quick and easy payments from any device

Users see an image of their credit card to click, then insert a user name and password to pay

July 16, 2014 03:56 PM ET

Computerworld - Visa on Wednesday announced a new simplified digital payment service called Visa Checkout, which is designed to allow customers to pay quickly for goods online on any connected device.

The service won't require loading a digital wallet on to a smartphone or tablet as with mobile payment methods, like Google Wallet, do. "Visa Checkout is simpler than any other method," said Sam Shrauger, senior vice president of digital at Visa. "People don't want a wallet; they want to pay and be done."

In a demonstration during a press event that was Webcast from a new Visa technology center in San Francisco, Shrauger showed how he could use a mobile device to pull up an image of his own Visa credit card to pay for a pizza from Pizza Hut directly on the Pizza Hut website.

With his name and other credentials previously stored with Visa, all he had to do to approve the online transaction was to click on the image of the card, then enter his name and a password. His user name could be either a phone number or email, he said.

The event was attended by officials from several companies planning to use the new service, including Pizza Hut, United Airlines, U.S. Bank and Staples.

Tom O'Toole, senior vice president of marketing and loyalty at United, said the airline "fully expects to have Visa Checkout in our onboard portal," which passengers can use to make onboard purchases for media, food, drinks and future travel.

Officials didn't discuss how Visa Checkout will directly affect in-store purchasing, especially as it relates to technologies like near-field communication, which is used in other forms of mobile payments. But Baron Concors, chief digital officer at Pizza Hut, said that he envisions a smartphone user on a subway ride would be able to quickly order and pay for a pizza directly on the phone, then pick it up at a nearby Pizza Hut store.

"When people come to our site, they are not looking to see what we do. They have a specific need to get that pizza as soon as possible," Concors said. Visa Checkout will speed up that process, he said.

The chief value to merchants and financial institutions that back credit cards in having a faster, easier checkout is to reduce the drastic number of customers who abandon purchases when they get to the checkout portion of a purchase. Often, they are required to insert a credit card number, address and other information, sometimes on multiple screens. That cumbersome process results in up to 86% of mobile users and up to 68% of online desktop users, deciding not to make a purchase, Visa said.

Visa said more than 180 banks and credit unions are participating in Visa Checkout, including U.S. Bank, Bank of America, BB&T Corp., BBVA Compass, Chase, Citi, ICBA Bancard, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank N.A., Regions Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

The credit card company said retailer Neiman Marcus has already begun using the service. Other retailers expected to use the service include 1-800-Flowers, Beyond the Rack, Cineplex Entertainment, Jos. A. Bank, Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

Visa Checkout will replace the V.me service introduced in 2012. Visa said its first priority is the security of all transactions. As with plastic credit cards, transactions over Visa Checkout will be bolstered with triple encryption in the network, Shrauger said.

The company will launch a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign on digital and social sites and on broadcast TV to explain Visa Checkout. Two online video ads presented at the press event included one showing a woman buying a dress in less than 10 seconds from a tablet while aboard a plane, just before the flight attendant asked for devices to be shut off.

Visa also announced a new mobile software developer kit for Checkout to allow a native in-app checkout in iOS and Android devices.

Visa processes payments for 14,000 financial institutions globally, works with 36 million merchants and has 2.2 billion cardholders.

This article, Visa launches 'Checkout' for quick and easy online payments from any device, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at Twitter @matthamblen or subscribe to Hamblen RSSMatt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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